Common Symptoms

Eating disorders can be very serious and depending on the nature and stage of the eating disorder, can have a range of physical and psychological implications.

Some of these symptoms are used by certain diagnostic systems in defining an eating disorder, and others are not. Some common symptoms, and possible consequences, are listed below. It is not the intention to be alarmist, but simply to be honest and informative. The majority of problems associated with the various eating disorders can be redressed in recovery. The information on this page is by no means complete, nor should it be taken as authoritative. Anyone with any medical concerns or questions should consult with their GP or a healthcare professional.

Below are some of the symptoms that sufferers of particular eating disorders may experience. Please note that it is not a complete or comprehensive list, nor is it a diagnostic tool in any way. It is only to show examples of some of the symptoms associated with specific eating disorders. Not everyone one suffering with an eating disorder will necessarily have all of these symptoms.




Those with Compulsive Eating problems also describe a feeling of being worthless and weak willed, and that their condition is not as 'worthy' or traumatic as Anorexia or Bulimia. This may increase feelings of shame and lead to feelings of isolation and depression.

“I saw a SWEDA support worker on campus at university. I had been struggling with binge eating disorder and compulsive exercise for about ten years. The SWEDA support worker was able to help me look at my relationship with food and my body in a different way. I have learned to be kinder to myself and they taught me techniques which helped me to slow down my thinking. Now I can go out and have fun without worrying all the time.”

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