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Have you ever stopped to look in the mirror one last time before you went out or smoothed your stomach after putting on your favorite top? Many people do this on occasion, but what does it mean when these body checking behaviors become compulsive? And when might they be a sign of an eating disorder?
Nicholas Farrell, PhD, Oconomowoc campus clinical director and clinical supervisor of Eating Disorder Recovery for Rogers, describes body checking as "repetitive, often compulsive, scrutiny of one's appearance from a size and shape standpoint."
Warning signs may include:
According to Dr. Farrell, while body checking sometimes eases anxiety in the short term, it actually increases anxiety surrounding body image long term, and is present in many different eating disorder diagnoses.
"Body checking is obviously not as dangerous as some of the other more severe eating disorder behaviors like self-induced vomiting or extreme dietary restraint," explains Dr. Farrell. "But research shows us that body checking may be one of the most central features of eating disorders that needs to be addressed in treatment."
Because body checking is an important feature of many eating disorders, it's important to work toward eliminating these actions. Dr. Farrell discusses the process in the video below.
Rogers provides inpatient, residential, and outpatient care for children, adolescents, and adults with an eating disorder at a growing number of locations nationwide. If you or a loved one are struggling, call 800-767-4411 to schedule a free, confidential screening or request one online.
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