Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Groningen, University of Cambridge & University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)'s online course, Young People and Their Mental Health. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds PATRICIA BOS: In the video you just saw how [? Romey ?] developed her eating disorder. She was dieting obsessively for a long period of time without help. Dieting obsessively means that she was focused on the dieting and couldn’t think about other things. It’s very important that the person with an eating disorder gets help very early. I’ll explain to you how you can recognise an eating disorder by the five signals of the signal card.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 seconds The first signal is about character. The second signal is about stressful events. The third signal is about how you think. And fourth signal is about eating behaviour. Finally, the fifth is about the body. The first signal is about character. If you want to do things too well, if you put the too high, if you do things to perfect, or if you think always other people are more important than you are, then you have a higher risk of getting an eating disorder. Of course, not all people with these features get an eating disorder. There is more to it. The second signal is about stressful events.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds If you have to experience one or more stressful events, then you have a higher risk of getting an eating disorder. Stressful events can be illness of yourself or somebody else. It can be bullying, or perhaps the parents divorced, or maybe that you have to deal with relocation, or perhaps that a person dies that you love. Of course, if you have to deal with stressful events, second signal, and also have a specific character, then it is important to look for the third signal. And the third signal, that is about how you deal with it. How do you think? You can deal with stress in different ways. There are handy ways. And there are more unhandy ways.

Skip to 2 minutes and 26 seconds An example of an handy way is that you talk about your thoughts and feelings about stressful events with other people. There are unhandy, kind of clumsy ways that you for example don’t talk about your negative thoughts. If you repeat a lot of negative thoughts, that can be very dangerous. So then you need help. If you for example think I’m fat, or have more like that, negative thoughts about yourself or your body, that can result in stressful dieting, or very dangerous dieting. And that will be very bad for your body. The fourth is about eating behaviour. An unhealthy eating behaviour is if you binge eat or if you don’t eat enough food your body actually needs.

Skip to 3 minutes and 19 seconds So for example, if you decide that you are not allowed to eat candy anymore, or then you are not allowed to eat meat anymore, or you don’t allow yourself to eat potatoes or pasta, and it gets less and less every time, then your body gets into trouble. The fifth signal is about your body. If your body gets too little nutritions, it starts malfunctioning. You can lose hair. You can get problems with your stomach, or intestinal problems. You can sleep poorly. For more science, check or consult the signal card eating disorders. Often, there’s not just one cause for an eating disorder. [? Romey ?] tells you more about that in the next video.

Skip to 4 minutes and 12 seconds People close to somebody with an eating disorder recognise an eating disorder often by underweight or overweight. However, someone with bulimia nervosa does not have an extremely underweight overweight. So if you want to recognise an eating disorder, it’s very important not only to look after the weight factor, but also to check other signs. Now you recognise an eating disorder in an early stage by eating behaviour, then you’re really awesome. Because the person actually wants to hide this strange eating behaviour, not because he wants to hurt you, or she wants to hurt you, but because the person feels safe with it.

How to recognise an eating disorder?

In this video Patricia Bos uses a signs chart to explain how you can recognise an eating disorder.

You can see the signs chart via this link.

Which signs from the chart were mentioned in Romy’s story? Can you name these?

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Young People and Their Mental Health

University of Groningen

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: