It is hardly uncommon for teenagers to experience self-image problems, especially when it comes to teen aged girls. Unfortunately, it is these self-image issues that can easily become something more serious, an eating disorder. Eating disorders can manifest in a variety of different ways, though the most common are known as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and ED-NOS or eating disorder not-otherwise-specified. Compulsive eating disorder is another type of eating disorder that can afflict teen aged children, both male and female. If you suspect that your teen might be dealing with disordered eating, it is going to be vitally important for you to help your child get the support and assistance that they need in order to develop a healthier view of eating and self-image.
There are several main types of eating disorders, but “disordered eating” can manifest in many different ways. You could look at disordered eating as being any relationship with food, weight loss or diet that is unhealthy or harmful. Some people experience only mild eating disorders, while others take the eating disorder very far to the point where they are starving themselves or seriously putting themselves at risk.
Anorexia is the title most commonly assigned to eating disorders involving starvation. Bulimia is the title assigned to eating disorders that involve purging, whether through diet pills and diuretics, exercise or throwing up. Compulsive eating disorder is the term assigned to eating disorders that involve the binging aspect without the purging aspect. Some people with bulimia will also purge without the binging aspect, sometimes after every meal. ED-NOS is the term that is most commonly assigned to eating disorders that do not fall into these other categories. Diet pill addiction is another example of an eating disorder, especially when coupled with other named disorders. Some people can alternate between these extremes, sometimes starving themselves and other times purging everything they eat for example. Any unhealthy relationship with food and weight can be diagnosed as an eating disorder.
The biggest problem with teens and eating disorders is that your son or daughter is going to go out of their way to hide what is going on. There are a lot of secretive behaviors that teens can utilize in order to perpetuate an eating disorder without anyone noticing. For example:
You must be vigilant as a parent to notice these small changes in behavior and demeanor. Children and teens who are suffering from eating disorders will go to great lengths to hide what is going on for as long as possible, and so it is up to you to spot and rectify the problem.
Approach the problem with as much understanding as you can muster rather than an upset attitude. Your teen needs to know that you want to get them help, and that you are coming into this with love and acceptance as much as possible. When you approach this situation with the right attitude, then it is going to be easier to show your teen that he or she needs help, and that the type of help they need is out there.
There are a lot of support groups and rehab facilities that are designed to help teenagers who are dealing with eating disorders. There is plenty of help out there for your teen, but the first step is for your teen to admit that there is a problem, and to want to get help. If you show your teen that you will be there with him or her through every step of the process, then that should make the journey to recovery much smoother and much easier to complete as well.