Eating disorders are so common that most of us know somebody who has one, but we may not even know it.

People with an eating disorder are often good at hiding it. About 30 million people in the US suffer from some sort of eating disorder and while they are traditionally associated with women, one third of those who have an eating disorder are men.

Whether it is anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, eating disorders are a big problem for both teens and adults. About 13% of women over the age of 50 experience some sort of eating disorder behavior. It is one of the most common and most destructive mental illnesses people experience today and it has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. That is why it is so important for you or a loved one to get help before the problem gets worse.Check out the signs and symptoms of eating disorders.

  • Brand X Pictures - Think Stock
    Brand X Pictures - Think Stock

    Eating in Secret

    If someone you know doesn't like to eat in front of people and tends to wait to eat until no one else is around, there is a good chance that they have an eating disorder. Of course this goes beyond typical shyness and is a serious problem.

  • kwanchaichaiudom ThinkStock
    kwanchaichaiudom ThinkStock

    Fear of Gaining Weight

    The person in question might be obsessive with the idea of gaining weight and will do whatever it takes to make sure that they don't gain any. If they seem overly concerned about their weight to the point of obsession they could have a serious issue that requires attention.

  • Bart?omiej Szewczyk - Think Stock
    Bart?omiej Szewczyk - Think Stock

    Calorie Counting

    Counting calories became really popular as a weight loss technique a few years ago with Weight Watchers at the helm. People still count calories but it becomes a problem and a potential sign to an eating disorder when it becomes destructive. If the person in question is obsessive with their calorie count and refuses to budge on it for any reason they could have a problem.

  • wildpixel - Think Stock
    wildpixel - Think Stock

    Binge Eating

    Eating disorders can go both ways -  either losing a lot of weight or gaining a lot of weight. If someone you know binge eats constantly it could potentially be to help them cope with some sort of emotional trouble. It becomes a real issue when they eat even when not hungry and make no attempt to watch what they eat, or try to lose the weight that they gain from these binge eating sessions.

  • triocean - Think Stock
    triocean - Think Stock

    Avoiding Eating

    If you never see them, eat it's possible that they forgo eating altogether. Anorexia is when someone with a negative body image stops eating in order to lose weight. It is a serious issue and should be handled with care.

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    The biggest sign of an eating disorder is if you catch someone purging right after they eat. Bulimia is a major concern and can be extremely harmful since the person purging does not retain any of the food that they eat. If someone you know purges after they eat you should get them the help they need right away.

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