Eating disorders are not uncommon issue in America. Eating disorders in teens is something we need to recognize to help put an end to the disease.
Reportedly, there are over eight million people who are suffering from anorexia or bulimia, with approximately seven million of those individuals being women.
And with the number of pressures that there are within our society to be the “media’s definition of beauty”, it’s no wonder that so many of those women happen to be girls between the ages of 13-18.
If you have a teen in your life (especially a female one) and you’re concerned about whether or not they may have an eating disorder, we have enclosed five signs that you definitely should not ignore.
They find excuses to not eat.
Probably the most classic sign of a teen who may be battling with an eating disorder is that they make up excuses to skip meals.
If virtually every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they are finding a reason to not eat, you definitely should take note of how often within a month’s time that proves to be the case.
They talk about how “fat” they are (a lot).
Although all of us should make a concerted effort to eat right and exercise, it’s one thing to say “I really need to get into shape.”
It’s another thing, however, for the teen in your life to obsessively talk about how fat they are or to constantly speak in negative ways about their appearance.
They’re always talking about being on a diet.
There are a lot of nutritionists and experts in the field of eating disorders who will say that it really is smart to encourage teenagers to take the word “diet” out of their vocabulary and replace it with phrases like “eating healthy”.
That’s because when people focus on dieting, it can oftentimes put them in the mindset to take drastic measures in order to lose weight.
These would include taking diet pills, skipping meals, going on liquid fasts and exercising for hours on end.
So, if you hear them talking about the latest diet trend, first read up on it and then discuss with them the smarter ways to lose weight.
They’re dropping pounds (drastically so).
Oftentimes, when people are admitted into an eating disorder treatment program, it’s due to the fact that they are continually losing weight and not taking the proper precautions to keep from losing more.
If you’ve noticed that the teen in your life has dropped several pounds in a little bit of time and you’re concerned about, it definitely doesn’t hurt to set up an appointment with their doctor so that they can check their vitals, etc. Many health professionals will say that on average, it’s healthy to lose 2-3 pounds per week.
If your teen is doing a lot more than that, it’s definitely a red flag.
They’re extremely moody.
When our body is getting the kinds of nutrients that it requires, it not only provides us with the daily amount of calories that we need, but it helps to regulate our hormones too.
If you’ve been noticing that your teen is extremely emotional, defensive or combative and you can’t find another underlying cause, this is another reason to discuss your concerns with them.
It’s better to address it and be wrong than ignore it and later wish that you hadn’t.