Eating Disorders (Part 2)

Symptoms of Anorexia

• Severe dieting
• Intense fear of being fat
• Rigid exercise
• Dressing in layers
• Complaints of being cold
• Mood shifts, restlessness, insomnia

Symptoms of Bulimia

• Binging
• Secretive eating/missing food
• Frequent dieting
• Avoidance of food related events
• Bathroom visits after meals
• Tooth decay
• Calluses on back on hands
• Severe self criticism
• Mood shifts/ depression/ guilt

Binge Eating

• Binging
• Frequent dieting changes
• Weight gain
• Limited public eating without weight loss
• Social failures attributed to weight
• Avoiding activities due to embarrassment of weight

Eating disorders are becoming more and more common in adolescents. In fact 1 – 2% of adolescents have developed an eating disorder, and eating disorders in adolescent boys have more than doubled in the past 10 years.

Left untreated, eating disorders can result in potentially devastating effects on health due to the physiological affects of altered nutritional status and/or purging. If you fear that your teen may be struggling with an eating disorder, the following may be helpful:

What to do:

• Get informed
• Get support
• Move quickly
• Support your teen
• Work on your own body image
• Encourage to do one’s best

What not to do:

• Engage in power struggles
• Be controlled by the eating disorder
• Make comments about appearance
• Criticize

Commentary by Laurie Linscheid, MFT


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