Research reveals that thousands of teenagers have eating disorders that can affect their mental or physical well-being. Some teenagers develop an eating disorder as a way to cope with stress while others are trying to meet the expectations of their thinner friends. Having a thin body is popular because many celebrities such as actors are underweight, but an eating disorder can have deadly consequences. It is better for a parent to seek professional help for a teenage son or daughter who has an eating disorder because long-term problems from lack of nutrition are extremely likely. Parents who aren’t familiar with the signs of an eating problem should understand the symptoms because many teenagers are experts at hiding their condition.
Eating Disorder Sign 1: Rapid Weight Loss
Many teenagers are growing rapidly, and they may become thinner during this phase. However, within a few weeks, they will begin to gain weight. During this time, your teenager is going to want to eat more food, and that is a normal reaction. When your teenager remains extremely thin, you should determine if it is caused by not eating or if it is caused by another underlying health issue.
Eating Disorder Sign 2: Wearing Baggy Clothing
While baggy clothing is often a fashion choice, teenagers may wear oversized garments to hide their thin bodies. A busy parent may not notice that a teenager has bony arms or legs when she is wearing larger jeans and shirts. In some cases, a teenager will wear multiple layers of clothing to hide an anorexic body, and also, the lack of body fat can make your child feel colder.
Eating Disorder Sign 3: Finding Numerous Food Wrappers or Containers
If you find numerous food containers or wrappers in a child’s bedroom or vehicle, then your child may have an eating disorder that involves eating too much. When your child has a way to buy food at a supermarket or a restaurant, she is more likely to engage in this type of behavior. Some teenagers will throw away the evidence of overeating in the trash, so you should also inspect the wastebaskets or trash receptacles.
Eating Disorder Sign 4: Frequent Bouts of Vomiting or Diarrhea
When a teenager has frequent episodes of diarrhea or vomiting, he might be taking substances such as laxatives or syrup of ipecac. Teenagers with a binging disorder or anorexia nervosa learn how to buy these items at online or nearby drug stores as a way to lose weight.
Eating Disorder Sign 5: Erosion on the Dental Enamel of the Teeth
Teenagers who force themselves to vomit by taking medications or using a gagging method may have dental health issues, including erosion on their teeth. This occurs from the high levels of stomach acid that is vomited from the mouth.
Seeking Help for Your Teenager
If you suspect that your teenage daughter or son has an eating disorder, contact McLean Counseling Center where the top experts in the field can help with overcoming this disorder.