Healthy eating habit is essential for every teenager for proper body development. Teenagers need to eat well to gain the right nutrients necessary for tissue and organ development, healthy bone growth, brain development, and to maintain the general well-being of the body. However, it’s not unusual for teenagers to develop an eating disorder. According to research, eating disorders is a common illness amongst teens between ages 13 to 18, and about 4% of teens in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Most times, this period is usually challenging for both the parents and the teenager.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know what to do when your teen is showing signs of an eating disorder. But don’t worry; an eating disorder is a condition that can be treated completely and effectively. You can visit Pacific Ridge – a reputable drug rehab center in Oregon, to get help for your teenage child experiencing an eating disorder.
Read on to learn more about eating disorders and how you can help your teen get through this condition.
What Is an Eating Disorder?
An eating disorder is a mental illness that manifests itself in abnormal eating habits. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to developing eating disorders, as they often strive for perfection and feel a lot of pressure to fit in. Also, the transition to puberty can be confusing and overwhelming for some teenagers hence making them prone to developing eating disorders.
There are three main types of eating disorders common in teens; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Each one has its own set of signs and symptoms, which you should be aware of if you think your teenager might be suffering from one.
Common Signs of an Eating Disorder in Teenagers
Some common signs that your teenager may be struggling with an eating disorder include drastic weight changes, obsessively counting calories, hiding food, and extreme mood swings.
Some of the most serious warning signs include:
- Making repeated attempts to lose weight, even if they’re already very thin
- Refusing to eat or eating very little
- Excessive exercise, often to the point of exhaustion
- Going to the bathroom after meals to vomit or use laxatives
- Feeling disgusted or ashamed of their body
Steps to Take When Your Teenager Shows Signs of an Eating Disorder
Have The Right Mindset
Whenever parents learn about their child’s health condition, the usual parental response is to panic and take the blame. Try to avoid this; if you blame yourself, it’ll not be easy to concentrate on helping your child get help. You have to be in the right frame of mind so you can take the right step and show your child that you’re both going to get through it together.
Talk To Your Teen And Express Your Concerns.
The next step is to talk to your child; the purpose of this is to understand how they’re feeling. It can be tough to have that conversation, but they must know you’re there for them. You can start by reassuring them that you are concerned and want to help them, but don’t push them to talk if they’re not ready. Instead, offer support and let them know that you are always available to listen.
Learn About Their Symptoms
More information about signs of eating disorders will better help you understand your teen’s behavior. It’ll give you an idea of how to support your child better.
Make An Appointment With A Doctor or Therapist
If your teen is exhibiting signs of an eating disorder, it’s important to seek professional help right away. They’re in a better position to analyze your teen’s symptoms. There are different types of treatment available, and your teen’s doctor will choose an appropriate treatment plan for your child.
Some common treatments for eating disorders include individual therapy, family therapy, nutritional counseling, and medication. It’s important to get medical help early because the sooner your teenager receives treatment, the better their chances of recovery.
Join A Support Group
As a parent, you also need help; you can join a support group for parents of teenagers with eating disorders. This can be a great way to connect with other parents who are going through the same thing and learn a thing or two about how they handled the situation.
In conclusion, early treatment of eating disorders is very important because it yields better recovery. So, endeavor to get professional help for your teen showing warning signs of an eating disorder.