How To Spot An Eating Disorder In Your Teenager And What You Can Do To Help

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Is your child simply not hungry these days, or is there more to it? Is her body consciousness just a phase, or is this something to be concerned about? These may be a few questions you have asked yourself about your teenager. There could be some cause for concern, as eating disorders are a mental disorder caused by things like genetics, depression, anxiety or even obsessive compulsive disorder. See below for help with spotting a disorder in your teenager and what you can do to help.

Spotting A Disorder

Spotting an eating disorder can be somewhat difficult. Your teenager is most likely not going to come right out and say they have a problem. Ask yourself the following questions. If you can answer yes to any of them, your child may be suffering from an eating disorder.

  1. Constantly talk about food, calories, body image or weight?
  2. Weigh themselves multiple times per day?
  3. Work out excessively, as in hours at a time, even if ill or injured?
  4. Count calories in everything they eat and drink?
  5. Abuse laxatives or vomit after eating to purge food?
  6. Label foods as being bad or good?
  7. Limit food intake to severe levels?

Other things to look out for if you think your child is suffering from an eating disorder:

  • Depression or withdrawing from otherwise normal activities.
  • Social phobia or anxiety.
  • Constant worry about how they look, possibly hiding their figure underneath several layers of clothing.
  • Self abuse after eating, such as cutting, excessive exercise or starvation.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Loss of menstruation in girls.

How To Help

There is a myth with eating disorders that you can simply tell someone to stop. Eating disorders are complex and should be handled properly. If you notice a problem in your teenager, contact your family doctor to suggest a treatment center for help. Before attempting to take your teenager in for treatment, try to discuss the disorder with them first. Ask your teenager if they want to make the call themselves to try and help get them on board with treatment. Once you have your child in treatment, the chance for recovery greatly improves. Your teenager may not think they need treatment at first and may come up with several excuses. Don't believe the excuses and continue with the treatment. Remember that it may take awhile to recover from this disorder and treatment is a necessary part of the recovery process. 

Recovery from this disorder can be a long road for some. Remember that getting treatment is necessary. If you recognize the symptoms of an eating disorder in your teenager or in someone else you love, be sure to get more info and to get them the help they need.