Is it an Eating Disorder?

Signs to look for

Below are some behaviors a parent or family member may notice in their loved one that could indicate an eating disorder. Someone with an eating disorder doesn’t necessarily exhibit all of the signs below and the reverse is true as well. If you’ve observed several of the behaviors below and have concerns, we recommend a professional diagnosis.

Around food

  • Starting a new diet including interest in “healthy,” “clean,” “low-carb” etc diets

  • Avoiding certain food groups for health/diet reasons or due to taste/texture preference

  • Avoiding situations that include eating in a group or an unnatural focus on what others eat

  • Inflexibility about what or when or how much to eat

  • Fixation on food’s calorie content

  • Absence during family meals; visiting the bathroom or showering immediately after meals

  • New interest in cooking without eating the food

  • Secretive or ritualistic eating

  • Rigidity around certain ingredients, brands, food preparations, or utensils

  • A longer list of foods your child won’t eat than your child will eat

  • Long history of “picky” eating that has gotten worse over time

  • Struggling to eat or eat enough food

  • Frequent stomach pain or other gastrointestinal complaints


  • Flat affect or absence of emotion

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Hyperactivity and restlessness

  • Increased rigidity or anxiety

Around activity

  • Exercising intensely but without joy

  • Expressing or showing a need to exercise to compensate for eating

  • Driven exercise: exercising while sick or in bad weather conditions


  • Failure to gain weight or height according to growth curve

  • Weight loss at any time during childhood or adolescence (even if starting at higher weight)

  • Fainting, weakness, dehydration

  • Injuries from overexercise

  • Requiring nutritional supplements to grow or treat nutritional deficiencies


  • A strong belief that one’s body is too “large” (or “too” anything)

  • Self-criticism for eating or not exercising

  • Ongoing requests or desire for reassurance about physical appearance

  • Fear of “over-eating” or gaining weight from a particular meal

  • An inability to recognize that they may be ill (anosognosia)

  • Fears of choking, vomiting, pain, or getting ill after eating

  • Unfounded fears of allergic reaction from eating safe foods


  • Social withdrawal or disinterest

  • Concern that social peers are judgmental

  • Inability to describe emotions; becoming more childlike in some ways

If these questions are resonating and the behaviors sound familiar
we recommend a professional assessment by your medical provider or call us @ (855) 387-4378.
Speak with our team

5 million

5 million

Americans will develop an eating disorder this year


Increase in eating disorders

Eating disorders are up 70% since the start of the pandemic in kids as young as 7, affecting all genders, races, ethnicities, and socio-economic groups



Mortality rate of all mental illnesses

Eating disorders have the 2nd highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses

Early treatment is critical

Getting the right help as early as possible after ED behaviors start leads to lower likelihood of relapse and higher likelihood of complete recovery

Family is a superpower

Families don’t cause eating disorders, but are critical in recovery

Connect with Equip for questions or a consultation or talk to your medical provider

I would like a consultation

Sign up for helpful
information and resources

I’d like to receive articles, videos and other informative resources