Symptoms and Treatment Stages of Subclinical Eating Disorders

The term “subclinical eating disorder” is a generalist classification for eating compulsions or behaviors that do not meet enough criteria to be termed a clinical eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa. In this article, we’ll examine the symptoms and treatment options for subclinical eating disorders.

Symptoms of Subclinical Eating Disorders

Because “subclinical eating disorder” is a broad umbrella category, the symptoms of subclinical eating disorders are not uniform. This means that not everyone with a subclinical eating disorder will experience every type of symptom. If you want an idea of what symptoms are possible under a subclinical eating disorder diagnosis, check out the following symptoms list:

  • Dressing in oversized clothes to hide your weight.
  • Unhealthy fixation on calories, dieting hacks, macro balancing.
  • Tendency to have negative thoughts towards your weight or appearance.
  • Feelings of guilt after and before eating.
  • Feelings of discomfort in social settings related to eating.
  • Obsessive pre-meal or post-meal food rituals (e.g. not putting certain foods together, only chewing on one side, or only eating at certain times of the day).
  • Meal skipping or snacking during main meals.
  • Inducing vomiting or misusing laxatives/diuretics to purge after eating.
  • Hoarding food in secret places.
  • Replacing meals by drinking excessive amounts of diet soda, water, coffee, or tea.
  • Simulating eating by consuming excessive amounts of chewing gum, mints, or mouthwash.
  • Keeping up an exercise routine regardless of fatigue, personal commitments, or injury risk.
  • Only using mirrors to check for physical flaws or weight fluctuations.
  • Experiencing a lack of control in eating behaviors.
  • Experiencing frequent and/or extreme mood swings.

Treatment Stages for Subclinical Eating Disorders

Medical Assessment: A thorough physical medical assessment is essential in anyone recovering from a subclinical eating disorder. If you are experiencing any immediate health problems due to a subclinical eating disorder, you may be referred to another doctor or specialist.

Nutritional Planning: Nutritional education is the first step towards breaking a pattern of unhealthy eating. While you take a refresher course on nutrition and meal scheduling, a dietician will create a customized eating plan based on your current physical and nutritional requirements.

Dietary and Behavioral Therapy: Regular therapy is an important component in the eating disorder recovery process. Dietary therapy and counseling will slowly break down the toxic associations you’ve built between eating and body image. In turn, behavioral therapy will help you recognize the specific situations and behaviors that trigger subclinical eating disorder symptoms.

Sources: Zen Care, National Eating Disorders Collaboration

Photo: Pixabay

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