5 Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder
- Sudden Weight Loss. If your teen loses ten pounds in a short amount of time then it could be cause for concern. Of course, there are factors to consider. An overweight teen who takes a sport or begins a workout routine will lose weight. However, even a teen stressed about exams will not lose a significant amount of weight.
- Drastic Change in Eating Habits. Again, this will be based on the individual. Teens are always changing and perhaps decide to go vegan because it is in vogue. Yet, a teen who suddenly shows no interest in foods once loved could be a red flag. A teen who claims she isn’t hungry at the normal dinner time or wants to eat alone may also be waving a red flag.
- Poor Body Image. I know we all are a bit self conscious about our bodies. A teen who thinks she looks fat in a dress is not necessarily cause for alarm. If you are noticing extremes in this area such as wearing baggy clothes, constantly mentioning having fat thighs, or obsessing in the mirror, may be cause for concern.
- Changes in Thoughts. A teen who obsesses over thinness, believes being thin would end her troubles, or has constant mood swings is cause for concern. Anxiety over eating or in general that seems unusual in intensity is another cause for concern. Teens with eating disorders often feel depressed, lonely, inadequate, and empty. These strong feelings can make it difficult for a teen to function.
- Extreme Exercise Behaviors. Compulsive exercising, especially in a teen who did not previously work out, is sign of an eating disorder. Teens who have extreme work out routines and continually have poor progress due to fatigue yet refuse to quit are a cause for concern.
If you suspect your teen has an eating disorder, talk to your doctor. Do not accuse or make it an over emotional issue. Your teen is filled with emotions. Big emotions that she is having a hard time dealing with. The last things she needs is to carry the weight of your emotions. You may feel your reaction is loving but it may be perceived as more of a burden. So, stay calm and be prepared for outbursts and denial. Be calm and consistent. Also, remember it is not YOUR fault.