Tuesday Thoughts: Can You Self-Diagnose an Eating Disorder?

On a lot of blogs I read, I notice that many girls, and even guys, share their stories on how they once had a terrible relationship with eating and said that they had eating disorders. Many post on their blogs, others make YouTube videos documenting their story. The horrors of their bodies lying in hospital beds, weak and vulnerable, are absolutely terrifying, and it is so beautiful to see these victims that have recovered and found a healthy relationship with food and fitness.

However, a couple of these people never mentioned anything about going to the hospital, receiving treatment or being legitimately diagnosed by a professional. Otherwise, they don’t have any medical evidence of their eating disorders. Obviously, this has led people to question the credibility of these sources. Are they just patients undocumented, or are they merely overreacting in the situation or dismissing their overreactions as part of an ED? And the big question is, should you only rely on a certified professional to safely state that you have or had an eating disorder?

In my concisest opinion, I have fairly mixed reviews of people diagnosing themselves. Firstly, I think that it’s not very smart to just use the Internet, because it can’t speak to you. Sure, you can Google any survey and it will say whether or not you have an eating disorder, but this is only a very broad overview of what an individual can look into. You can search symptoms of eating disorders, but how many of those symptoms do you actually have, and are they merely normal behaviors?

The resources that are available may be legitimate in psychological, biological and medical knowledge in relation to eating disorders, but they are all a bit different; meaning, interpretations of eating disorder behavior may nor may not pop up in at least one source. For example, is it normal or abnormal to cut your food into tiny pieces to make it look like you have more to eat? Sometimes it’s perfectly healthy, other times it’s not. Is it normal or abnormal to voluntarily skip meals? Sometimes it’s used to starve oneself, other times it’s used for intermittent fasting or to save calories for a party that is bound to have junk food. See what I mean?

This doesn’t mean that I don’t understand where certain people are coming from. Some just don’t have the money or the time to seek aid from a medical doctor or a support group. Rehabilitation centers can cost up from some hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Some are too afraid to admit they have one and continue their harmful habits, or deny that they have any issues at all. It’s no wonder that a lot of victims live with their disorders going unnoticed.

There are some aspects of eating disorders that are widely established, however. If people have a fixation with physical flaws, food, fitness, and a strong to irrational fear of gaining weight, eating food or a certain type of food, calorie counting, skipping workouts and such, then yes, those are obsessions that could parallel eating disorders. Some examples include a lack of control around food, social isolation in order to avoid eating, rapid weight loss, hair loss, irregular periods and body temperature, constant vomiting and more. Your fear of bread or red meat could actually be a call for orthorexia. Your obsession with running could be something more serious. Checking the menu before eating out for the healthiest item could be a symptom as well. Your memorization of your caloric needs might actually be normal. You never know.

If you really want to find out if you have an eating disorder without the help of professional therapy, then I suggest you take each source you use with a grain of salt. I think that if more than three quizzes test you positive, then it’s pretty likely that something is wrong and you do need to figure out a recovery path. But I could be totally incorrect because I’m not a professional and I have no qualifications to assess someone like that. Overall, I think that speaking to an expert about eating disorders is the optimal way to go, because you’ll be getting the most accurate answer. Note that this person should have enough knowledge about medicine, health, psychology, and nutrition to help you out. If you know someone who has an eating disorder or might have one, or if you think that you might be suffering from one, then please get started on seeking help. From what I’ve seen, recovery is beautiful and worth absolutely every single second, penny and ounce of energy you put into it.

One thought on “Tuesday Thoughts: Can You Self-Diagnose an Eating Disorder?

  1. I take everything with MULTIPLE grains of salt… Because I love salt – ha ha! Okay, I know this is a serious post, sorry… But it’s true… If you feel you have a food issue, you need to sit down and truly think about how much food affects your life… If you’re constantly thinking about food and what you’re going to eat next and canceling plans due to food, etc… Then you may very well have a problem.

    Liked by 1 person

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