If you’re concerned that your child has an eating disorder, you have a right to be worried—diagnoses of eating disorders in teens have risen in recent years. Addressing this issue in its early stages can make treatment easier and prevent long-term health issues.
In this article, we’ll talk about the common warning signs of eating disorders in teens.
Starting at a Young Age
It’s never too soon to look for the signs of an eating disorder—younger and younger children are displaying symptoms. Even children as young as seven or eight years old worry about their weight and put themselves on diets.
One study revealed that 42 percent of girls in third grade or younger thought they weighed too much. Many eating disorders in teens can be traced to this early pressure to be thin.
Signs of Eating Disorders in Teens
Some of the warning signs of eating disorders in teens are subtle and may go unnoticed by parents. Here are a few telltale signs to watch out for:
- Weight loss or weight fluctuations
- Avoiding social plans that involve food
- Playing with food and pushing it around instead of eating
- Disappearing after meals—this could be sign of purging
- Hiding food in their bedroom; although most teens leave food in their room on occasion, deliberate attempts to hide it could signify a binge eating disorder
Signs of Anorexia
- Dramatic weight loss
- Obsessed with dieting
- Frequent commenting about feeling overweight or fat, despite loosing weight
- Suffers from constipation or abdominal pain
- Makes excuses to avoid meal time
- Has an extreme exercise regimen despite feeling sick or being injured
Signs of Bulimia
- Expresses fear of gaining weight
- Consumes repeatedly abnormally large amounts of food in one sitting
- Fasting in between binges
- Takes laxatives or diuretics
If your child displays some of the warning signs of eating disorders in teens, it’s important to take action right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can save your child’s life—anorexia nervosa, one of the most common eating disorders in teens, has a 10 percent mortality rate.
A good place to start is with your child’s pediatrician; they can help guide you to high-quality treatment centers in your area.
Eating disorders in teens are more common than you may think, and it’s essential to know the warning signs. You can play an essential role in your child’s recovery. Helping your child get the treatment they need is the best way to ensure long-term recovery.