Eating Disorders What to Look For and How to Help
Physical Signs • Low Weight • Considerable weight loss • Extreme weight fluctuations • Bloating • Swollen salivary glands • Missed menstrual periods (Amenorrhea) • Yellowing of the skin
Physical Signs • Sores on hands from vomiting • Low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia) • Muscle cramps • Stomach complaints • Headaches, dizziness, or general weakness • Numbness or tingling in limbs • Stress fractures
Psychological-Behavioral Signs • Excessive dieting • Excessive eating without weight gain • Excessive exercise • Guilt about eating • Claims to be fat when they are not • Preoccupation with food • Avoidance of eating in public
Psychological-Behavioral Signs • Hoarding food • Disappearing after meals • Frequent weighing • Binge eating • Evidence of self-induced vomiting • Use of diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics
What to Do Get help from specialists. Be supportive and empathetic. Express concern about general feelings. Make referrals and help make the appointments. Provide information about eating disorders. Emphasize the importance of long-term good nutrition.
What Not to Do Don’t recommend weight loss or gain. Don’t single out or treat the student unlike other participants. Don’t talk about the problem with nonprofessionals who are not directly involved. Don’t demand that the problem be stopped immediately. Don’t make insensitive remarks or tease students regarding their weight.