Recognizing harmful habits—especially in yourself or a loved one—isn’t always easy, but it can go a long way in helping you identify an eating disorder and getting the necessary treatment. If you’ve recognized potential signs of disordered eating in yourself or someone close to you, it may be beneficial to take a comprehensive eating disorder test to determine if it’s time to get help.

Below we’ll go over what a comprehensive eating disorder test does, signs that you should take one, and some initial self-assessment questions.

The purpose of a comprehensive eating disorder test

A comprehensive eating disorder test is essentially a screening tool to help you get a better idea of how your nutritional, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns match with those of a diagnosable eating disorder.

Regardless of the results, it can be helpful to complete an eating disorder test. The potential benefits include:

  • Increasing your self-awareness about your mental, emotional, and behavioral health
  • Helping you examine your relationship with food
  • Offering a different perspective on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
  • Identifying symptoms of other mental health disorders
  • Helping you determine if you need to seek treatment

The main goal of an eating disorder assessment is to help you see if you align with the symptoms of common eating disorders. The different types of eating disorder diagnoses (as outlined in the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) include:

  • Anorexia nervosa: You have an extremely restricted diet and fear of gaining weight, as well as a disturbance in the way you view your body weight or shape.
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): You don’t eat enough food, enough food variety, or both, due to sensory sensitivities, disinterest, or fear of a bad outcome.
  • Other specified feeding & eating disorder (OSFED): You have eating disorder symptoms that cause significant distress but do not meet criteria for a specific diagnosis.
  • Bulimia nervosa: You experience recurrent episodes of binge eating, followed by compensatory behaviors (purging) like vomiting, laxative abuse, or exercise in an effort to control weight and shape.
  • Binge eating disorder (BED): You experience recurrent episodes of binge eating in a short amount of time, causing intense distress. You experience a lack of control when eating, eat until uncomfortably full, and experience feelings of guilt and shame after the binge.

Signs it’s time to take a comprehensive eating disorder test

The symptoms of eating disorders can sometimes be hard to identify. For example, a loss of appetite or a habit of picky eating can appear normal, but if these behaviors are persistent and becoming more intense, they may be a sign of something serious. It’s never too early (or too late) to start reflecting on your eating habits and make a change, and one of the simplest first steps toward doing that is to take an eating disorder assessment. If you do meet the criteria for an eating disorder, you’ll be able to get connected with the proper resources, support, and treatment.

Even though every eating disorder has different symptoms, there are some general warning signs that indicate you may be struggling with an eating disorder.

Here are some signs that you should take an eating disorder assessment:

  • High concern about weight loss
  • Frequent dieting
  • Refusal to eat particular foods or entire food groups
  • Skipping meals or eating extremely small portions
  • Notable weight fluctuations
  • Severe mood swings
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Menstrual irregularities

Self-assessment questions from a comprehensive eating disorder test

A comprehensive eating disorder test gives you the opportunity to reflect on your own behaviors and compare them to common eating disorder symptoms. By contemplating these questions, you’ll be able to assess your mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as determine whether you may be struggling with an eating disorder.

Here are a few self-assessment questions based on Equip’s eating disorder screening.

Food-related signs:

  • Do you avoid eating dinner with your family or in group settings?
  • Are you fixated on the calorie count of every food or drink you consume?
  • Do you rely on nutritional supplements to grow or treat deficiencies?
  • Do you eat excessive amounts of food in a short period of time?
  • Do you continue eating after you feel full?
  • Are you worried about getting sick or choking if you eat certain foods?
  • Do you avoid certain foods due to their texture or color?
  • Are you constantly trying a new diet?

Exercise-related signs:

  • Do you feel required to exercise as a way to compensate for or “earn” eating?
  • Have you experienced injuries from overexercise?
  • Do you exercise even when you feel sick or there’s bad weather?
  • Are you rigid about your workouts, scheduling your life around them?

Emotional signs:

  • Do you feel withdrawn from your social relationships?
  • Have you been feeling weak or dehydrated?
  • Do you experience hyperactivity?
  • Do you struggle with mood swings?

Equip can help you navigate the results of a comprehensive eating disorder test

If your screening shows that you align with the symptoms of an eating disorder, it’s important not to take the results as a formal diagnosis. Similarly, if your results indicate that you don’t have an eating disorder but you’re still worried, you shouldn’t brush off your concerns. These tests aren’t foolproof and they’re not meant to be used for making diagnoses; they’re simply tools that can be helpful for some people in determining whether or not to seek an expert assessment.

You can also schedule a free consultation with the Equip team to help you take the next step toward addressing your concerns. If you are diagnosed with an eating disorder, Equip can match you with a multidisciplinary care team to normalize your eating habits, manage triggers, and improve your overall quality of life—entirely from home.

About Pepper Snider, LMHC

Pepper Snider is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate with over 15 years of eating disorder experience in advocacy, patient care and research. Pepper started in the field as an advocate sharing her story of eating disorder recovery. Over the years her story has been showcased in interviews, articles and broadcasts on a local and national level. Pepper has worked in eating disorder treatment centers at all levels of care as a therapist, patient care assistant and diet technician. In addition, Pepper has given back to the eating disorder field as a research participant at Columbia University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Pepper has a unique perspective and insight into eating disorders given her multifaceted roles and experiences in the field.


1. Call, Christine, et al. “From DSM-IV to DSM-5: Changes to Eating Disorder Diagnoses.” Current Opinion in Psychiatry, vol. 26, no. 6, 2013, pp. 532-36. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e328365a321.

Kate Willsky
Senior Manager, Content
Clinically reviewed by:
Pepper Snider, LMHC
Therapist at Equip
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