First, I’d like to give you the statistics to make you aware of what a pervasive problem eating disorders are. According to The National Association of Anorexia and Associated Eating Disorders up to 24 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. Now listen to this-95% are between the ages of 12-26. Eating disorders tend to begin during the teenage years. Although anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are more common in females the rates are climbing in the male population. An estimated 10-15% of those with anorexia or bulimia are males.
The next thing that you must know about eating disorders is that there are signs that your teen may be developing an eating disorder. I am going to clue you in on these signs because early detection and prevention are crucial. Once a teen has a full blown eating disorder it is not impossible but it is hard to treat.
So watch for the following behaviors:
1. Your teen is suddenly wearing baggy clothes perhaps in an effort to hide a shrinking body.
2. Your teen is making excuses to skip meals.
3. You notice that your teen is engaging in odd food rituals like cutting food into tiny pieces and pushing it around the plate.
4. Suddenly, your teen totally cuts a certain type of food out of his/her diet.
5. Your teen is compulsively exercising.
If you notice any or all of these symptoms talk to your teen. Get them to their physician first to check their health. Even if their health is good please consider a therapist evaluation to nip this problem in the bud because eating disorders can become very entrenched. The longer they go on untreated the harder they are to treat.