Eating disorders are complicated diseases that can cause both physical and psychological issues. Many people who suffer from such disorders require intensive therapy and treatment. In severe cases, a person suffering from an eating disorder may need inpatient treatment in a clinic that specializes in treating this problem. If you are a parent of a teen, it is important to know the signs that may indicate that your child has developed an eating disorder. Some common signs include the following:
Changes in Weight
During the teenage years, teens usually grow and gain weight or maintain a normal weight. If your child begins to drastically lose weight despite being otherwise healthy, it may be due to the fact that he or she is restricting calories or purging. A teen suddenly losing weight should be cause for concern.
Obsessive Interest in Portion Sizes and Food in General
A person with an eating disorder can become obsessed with the types and amount of food that he or she eats on a daily basis. Teenagers need a healthy, well-balanced diet, and calories should not be restricted. A teen with an eating disorder may try to disguise how little food they are eating by cutting food into small portions, pushing their food around the plate but actually eating very little, or replacing solid food with beverages. If you notice signs that your teen is not eating normally, professional treatment may be need.
Consumed with Weight and Size
Adolescence can be a confusing time for a teenager as their body changes. But a teen with an eating disorder will typically care more about their size and weight than a teen with normal eating habits. It is not uncommon for a teen with an eating disorder to become fixated on how much they weigh, and to use a scale on a daily basis to weigh themselves. In addition, a teen with an eating disorder may become concerned with fitting into a certain size of clothing.
Disappearing After Meals
If your teen is suffering from bulimia, you may notice that he or she immediately disappears after meal times. A bulimic usually consumes a normal amount of food during meals, but will then purge after eating. Keep an eye on your teenager-- if is becomes a regular habit to visit a bathroom right after a meal, that could be a sign that your teen is suffering from bulimia and needs help.