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Eating Disorder

Eating Disorder
Posted on February 22, 2017 by CHS

Kids and teens today often feel pressure from the media and social media to fit a certain image. Insecurities along with other factors such as family history, low self-esteem, and negative peer interactions based on weight, can cause a child or teen to develop an eating disorder.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is observed to draw attention to eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting life-saving resources into the hands of those in need.

Two common misconceptions about eating disorders are that only girls can have an eating disorder and that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. However, in reality, anyone can be affected by an eating disorder and eating disorders are actually complex medical and psychiatric illnesses. As parents, it is important to catch the early signs of an eating disorder to prevent long term consequences in your child’s growth or loved one’s health. Some dire consequences include a lifetime of a weak heart or kidneys, inability to conceive a child, osteoporosis, and much more. Listed below are the types of common eating disorders and their symptoms so that you understand the signs shown by your loved ones.

  • Anorexia Nervosa
    • Inadequate food intake which leads to a weight that is clearly too low
    • Self-esteem overly related to body image
    • Losing a large amount of weight
    • Denying feeling hungry (saying you are not hungry even if you are)
    • Exercising too much
    • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Binge Eating Disorder
    • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting
    • A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes
    • Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating
    • Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior
  • Bulimia Nervosa
    • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting
    • A feeling of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes
    • Self-esteem overly related to body image
    • Making excuses to go to the bathroom immediately after meals
    • Eating huge amounts of food without weight gain
    • Using laxatives or diuretics
    • Withdrawing from social activities

If you feel that any of your loved ones are having symptoms of any of these illnesses, reach out to them and get involved. In many cases, individuals with eating disorders cannot recognize a need for help by themselves, and it takes a strong and caring individual to reach out. Most importantly, know that there is hope. Recovery may be difficult and take some time but it is possible. You can start by encouraging your loved ones at risk to take a free online screening tool offered by National Eating Disorders Association. For parents, friends, and loved ones that are looking for information on supporting someone through an eating disorder, view the Parent Toolkit.

Sources:

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/types-symptoms-eating-disorders

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/factors-may-contribute-eating-disorders

http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/eatdisorder.html?ref=search

www.nedawareness.org/  

www.eatingdisorder.org/eating-disorder-information/facts-myths/

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/family-and-friends

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