Know the signs of an eating disorder

5 September 2022

This Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week, 5 to 11 September 2022, Australia’s major eating disorder organisations are encouraging people to know the signs of an eating disorder and take action early to prevent disorders escalating.

Up to 25% of people diagnosed will experience a severe and long-term eating disorder.

Individuals who receive early intervention for an eating disorder are twice as likely to achieve recovery.

Eating Disorder Alliance of Australia (EDAA) members have released ‘Eating Disorders: How to start the conversation’ and are encouraging people talk to their loved ones if they recognise signs of an eating disorder.  

Download ‘Eating Disorders: How to start the conversation’.

EDAA organisations are Butterfly, Eating Disorders Queensland, Eating Disorders Victoria, Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders Families Australia.

Dr. Ranjani Utpala, Clinical Director at Butterfly is encouraging people to familiarise themselves with common symptoms, particularly as presentations of eating disorders and demand for services continue to grow with the pandemic.

“Everyone’s experience of an eating disorder is individualised and usually presents in a variety of ways. However, a range of behaviours may easily be observed by family members and friends in loved ones. These can include bodychecking, reassurance-seeking and a preoccupation with eating, shape and weight. You may also notice frequent excuses not to eat, eating in secret, avoiding social situations involving food or engaging in compensatory behaviours such as over-exercise.

Physically you may observe weight loss, weight gain, weakness, fainting, increase in driven exercise, changes in eating patterns, including not eating in public. Psychologically you may notice symptoms such as a depressed mood, anxiety, body dissatisfaction, social isolation/withdrawal, obsessive compulsive behaviour and poor concentration and/or memory.”