Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating can be hard to detect in teens because they often go to great lengths to hide their actions. As a parent, you can look for certain red flags of an eating disorder and get professional help for your teen before the disorder gets too advanced. You will have a better chance of reaching your teen if intervention is undertaken early. But, first of all, does your teen have an eating disorder? What are the common signs?
All eating disorders have common warning signs, and you should take notice if your teen starts exhibiting these signs or behaviors on a regular basis. People with eating disorders have an obsession with weight gain. They will obsessively count calories, read food labels, and are constantly dieting, even if they are already thin. They frequently skip meals with others, avoiding social situations where food is involved. If bulimic or a binge eater, they hide food and eat large amounts of food in secret. Bulimics may eat food normally, but then purge themselves immediately afterwards, or take laxatives or diet pills. They may exercise compulsively.
Teens with eating disorders often have associated problems of stress, anxiety, distorted body image, and depression. It is important to get professional help in the form of specialists such as mental health experts, doctors, counselors, and nutritionists to help your teen cope with the mental and physical aspects of their disorder. The question of “does your teen have an eating disorder” should be addressed the moment you see the first warning signs. Catching and treating your teen early will provide for a better chance of recovery.