Do you worry that your daughter may have an eating disorder? Does she seem overly preoccupied with food, her weight, dieting, and/or exercise? There are three main types of eating disorders–anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Noted from webMD, here are some signs to look for to see if your daughter may be in trouble:
Symptoms of anorexia include:
- anxiety, depression, perfectionism, or being highly self-critical
- dieting even when one is thin or emaciated
- excessive or compulsive exercising
- intense fear of becoming fat, even though one is underweight
- menstruation that becomes infrequent or stops
- rapid weight loss, which the person may try to conceal with loose clothing
- strange eating habits, such as avoiding meals, eating in secret, monitoring every bite of food, or eating only certain foods in small amounts
- unusual interest in food
Children and teens with anorexia have a distorted body image. People with anorexia view themselves as heavy, even when they are dangerously skinny. They are obsessed with being thin and refuse to maintain even a minimally normal weight.
Symptoms of bulimia include:
- abusing drugs and alcohol
- abusing laxatives and other treatments to prevent weight gain
- bingeing on large amounts of food
- eating in secret or having unusual eating habits
- excessive exercise
- mood swings
- overemphasis on physical appearance
- regularly spending time in the bathroom after eating
- scarring on knuckles from using fingers to induce vomiting
- unusual interest in food
- vomiting after eating
People with bulimia usually fluctuate within a normal weight range, although they may be overweight, too. As many as one out of every 25 females will have bulimia in their lifetime.
Binge eating in children and teens
Binge eating is similar to bulimia. It includes chronic, out-of-control eating of large amounts in a short time, even to the point of discomfort. However, binge eaters do not purge the food through vomiting or other means. As a result, they tend to become overweight or obese.
Binge eaters may be struggling to handle their emotions. Anger, worry, stress, sadness, or boredom may trigger a binge. Often, binge eaters are upset about overeating and may become depressed.
Complications from an eating disorder can be serious!
Eating disorders can cause major health damage or death. Consequences including damaged organs, bone loss, tooth decay, low blood pressure/ cold sensitivity, or obesity. Catching it early and getting help as soon as possible can make a big difference in recovery time. If you suspect your child may be struggling, call your doctor right away! With both medical, nutritional, and psychological support, your daughter will have the most comprehensive and lasting change. Psychological components of the disorder usually include distress, feelings of helplessness, and low self-esteem. Individual and/or family therapy in addition to medical treatment is essential in addressing these underlying issues.