Have you ever wondered if the way you eat is serious enough to need treatment? I get this question all the time, and it's not always an easy answer. One way to know if your eating habits are problematic is how much they are interrupting your daily life. If it's causing you problems, then it might be time to get help.
Professionals have developed ways to measure the seriousness of eating disorders, and one test that I use in my practice is the Eating Attitudes Test-26, or EAT-26. I give this assessment to my clients at intake so I can know how serious their struggles are. The first part of the test asks questions about your current weight and height, highest weight, and lowest weight. This helps me determine if my client has lost significant weight recently or if they are underweight.
The next part of the EAT-26 is a 26 question quiz about your eating habits. This helps determine if they are concerning enough to warrant a professional assessment and diagnosis. I made this into a simple quiz so you can get immediate feedback about how serious your disordered eating is. Head over here to take it! It's easy and quick!
The last part of the EAT-26 asks questions about how often in the last 6 months you have, 1) Gone on binges where you feel that you may not be able to stop, 2) Ever made yourself sick (vomited) to control your weight or shape, 3) Ever used laxatives, diet pills, or diuretics (water pills) to control your weight or shape, and 4) Exercised more than 60 minutes a day to lose weight. The more often you engage in these behaviors, the more likely you have an eating disorder. You are also asked whether you have lost 20 pounds or more in the last 6 months, as significant weight loss--even if you are still at a normal weight or higher!--is a serious eating disorder symptom.
All that said, you still cannot diagnose yourself with an eating disorder. Leave that up to a qualified mental health professional (like me). What I can say, is that if you are worried enough about your eating that you are trying to diagnose yourself on the internet, it may be time to get professional help. Even if you don't meet full criteria for an eating disorder diagnosis, your eating habits are clearly causing some concern that could be alleviated before they get more problematic.
For more information on the EAT-26, click here.