Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder

Would you be able to recognize an eating disorder in your own child?

Whether it's noticing a change in your child's food or exercise habits or noticing your child's altered body image, Dr. Ramani's provide tell-tale warning signs that signal an eating disorder.

Excessive Restriction of Calories
If you notice that your child has become an avid calorie counter, this could be a red flag. If they are restricting themselves to an abnormally low amount of calories per day, this could be asign of an eating disorder.

Distorted Body Image
Often those suffering from eating disorders will over-focus on certain physical aspects of their body, constantly finding something wrong or imperfect.

Will Only Consume 'Safe' Foods
If you notice that your child has created certain rituals around food, or if they've begun to maintain a very restricted repertoire of what they will and won't eat, that could mean they are suffering from an eating disorder.

Avoidance of Eating with Others or Being Observed Eating
Avoiding social situations that focusaround food - dinners out with friends, family picnics, holiday parties - could mean that your child is trying to hide certain eating patterns. It could also mean that your child simply is not eating, and does not want to face the awkwardness of being confronted by others who are eating.

Excessive Exercise
Our society tends to overvalue exercise in our society, but Dr. Ramani says too much exercise can become a compensatory behavior to try and rid the body of every calorie it's consumed (and then some), almost similar to throwing up after eating.

Wearing Baggier Clothes
If your child's style has suddenly shifted to much baggier clothing, it could mean they are trying to hide weight loss from you and others. On the opposite spectrum, you may notice an extreme weight loss that your child is not even attempting to hide.

Most everyone gets irritable if they have not eaten enough - this can be amplified tenfold for those suffering from eating disorders.

A psychological sign of an eating disorder is depression or anxiety. Depression often goes hand-in-hand with eating disorders; both are often signs of a larger underlying issue.

Social Withdrawal
If your child is slowly backing out of the majority of their social obligations, this could be a sign of an eatingdisorder. They may be trying to hide their disorder from others, or the aforementioned depression may have sunk in.

Preoccupation with Food and Weight
For those with an eating disorder, the topic of conversation tends to shift monumentally to that of food consumed, calories in certain foods, plans for future meals, etc.

Secret Eating or Night Eating
If you notice your child eating alone in a "hidden" or "secret" way, this could be a sign of bulimia; they may be over-consuming calories out of sight of their friends and family, only to purge these calories later.

Finding Food in the Bedroom/Car
If you find food where food typicallydoes not belong - such as in your child's bedroom drawers or hidden intheir car - it could mean that their psychological relationship with food has begun to get twisted. This is often a sign of an eating disorder.

Hidden Laxatives or Diuretics
If you notice your child is hiding laxatives or diuretics, this could be a sign that they are ridding their bodies of excess on a regular and unhealthy basis. Those suffering from bulimia often use laxatives or diuretics to purge themselves after binges.

This information is provided for entertainment/informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical or health advice, examination or diagnosis.


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