Warning Signs that Your Child Has an Eating Disorder

1. Doubting

Nobody knows your child better than you do.  Are you noticing that food has become an issue in your home?  Perhaps you are wondering why your child doesn’t eat meals with the family anymore, or maybe he or she is spending too much time in the bathroom.  Maybe you are wondering what caused this sudden weight loss or gain.  Why is food disappearing without a trace?  Children go through a lot of changes in their teenage years and maybe it’s difficult for you to discern whether or not these changes in their body and behavior are normal, or if they are warning signs that something is wrong.  If you are harboring doubt about your teen’s mental and behavioral health, then that is the first warning sign that something could be wrong.

2. Blame

You have grown frustrated with a moody teen who has deviated from household norms.  You are angry with your teen for refusing to come to dinner, raiding the fridge in the middle of the night or making unhealthy choices with regards to their food intake.  You are thinking that it must be a bad influence at school or your child is just being difficult.  If food is becoming a fight in your home and you are desperately searching for somewhere to place the blame, you already know that something is wrong.

Other Signs of Eating Disorders in Teens

  • Preoccupation with physical appearance
  • Secretly eating or refusing to eat in front of others
  • Noticeable change in eating patterns
  • Consuming large amounts of food in a small amount of time
  • Medical complications
  • Desperate attempts to lose weight despite already being thin
  • Self induced vomiting
  • Going to the bathroom immediately following a meal
  • Sadness, isolation or irritability
  • Excessive exercise
  • Physical complaints such as headaches, stomach aches, etc.

It is common for parents to admit that they knew something was wrong but felt limited when it came to addressing or controlling the issue.  The child will grow hostile or defensive if the topic comes up and parents are left frustrated, worried and unsure what to do.

If you or your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, Adolescent Growth is here to help.