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.