These checklists are of typical physical, social behavioral and psychological signs and symptoms of eating disorders.  They are self-explanatory.  I’d like to highlight afew.  You are looking for a  fear of food; a flat mood or mood swings;  complaints about the self; and physically you are looking for big weight swings up or down.  



An intense fear of gaining weight 

A negative or distorted self-image 

Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws 

Self-worth and self-esteem depend on body shape and weight 

Fear of eating in public or with others 

Preoccupation with food 

Obsessive interest in cooking shows on television and collecting recipes 

Hoarding food 

Only eating “safe” or “healthy” foods 

Making excuses for not eating 


Self-harm (cutting, etc.)

Substance abuse (alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines)

Rigidity in behaviors and routines, and extreme anxiety if these are interrupted

Cooking elaborate meals for others, but refusing to eat them themselves

Eating strange combinations of foods

Elaborate food rituals

Withdrawing from normal social activities

Wearing baggy or layered clothing

Flat mood or lack of emotion; 

Extreme mood swings 

Constantly talks about food 

Makes frequent trips to the bathroom 

Wears very baggy clothes to hide: 

a very thin body (anorexia) or 

weight gain (binge eating disorder) or 

hide “normal” body because of dissatisfaction about body shape/size 

Is fatigued; gets dizzy 

Avoids cafeteria 

Carries own food in backpack or purse 

Diets or has chaotic food intake; 

pretends to eat, then throws away food; 

skips meals 

Exercises for long periods; exercises excessively every day (can’t miss a day) 

Emotional signs

Change in attitude/performance 

Expressesbody image complaints/concerns:

being too fat even though normal or thin; 

unable to accept compliments; 

mood affected by thoughts about appearance; 

constantly compares self to others; 

self-disparaging; refers to self as fat, gross, ugly; 

overestimates body size; 

strives to create a “perfect” image; 

seeks constant outside reassurance about looks 

Talks about dieting; avoids nutritious foods because they are “fattening” 

Appears sad/depressed/anxious/or expresses feelings of worthlessness 

Is target of body or weight bullying 

Spends increasing amounts of time alone 

Is obsessed with maintaining low weight to enhance performance in sports, dance, acting, or modeling 

Overvalues self-sufficiency; reluctant to ask for help 

Physical Signs

Sudden weight loss, gain, or fluctuation in short time 

Abdominal pain 

Feeling full or “bloated” 

Feeling faint, cold, or tired 

Dry hair or skin, dehydration, blue hands/feet 

Lanugo hair (fine body hair)