Anorexia & Bulimia: 5 Signs Your Teen May Be Struggling With an Eating Disorder by Joyce Knestrick, CRNP, FAANP

Anorexia & Bulimia: 5 Signs Your Teen May Be Struggling With an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders affect 30 million people – more than Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and autism combined. Roughly 95 percent are between the ages of 12 and 25, and only 30 percent will seek treatment, in part because their parents have no idea they’re suffering.

Parents, you don't need an excuse to talk about an issue not talked about nearly enough. If you’re worried about eating disorders, here are five signs your teen may need help:

  1. They’re not gaining weight. Kids should add pounds as they grow.
  2. They’re skipping family meals. Hiding eating habits is a red flag.
  3. They have peculiar habits. They cut their food into tiny pieces or overuse condiments.
  4. They obsess over exercise. Their whole day revolves around burning calories.
  5. They fixate on food, but don’t eat it. They love to grocery shop and cook, but don’t enjoy the fruits of their labor.

If you think your teen is developing an eating disorder, call your provider. They can help you find the right help, which may include a psychologist, dietitian and possibly a physical therapist. Eating disorders can lead to serious health complications, so don’t hesitate to seek treatment!

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Elisa Schmitz
This is so scary. Many thanks for the insights, Joyce Knestrick, CRNP, FAANP . So important to keep aware!
Donna John
I had a friend whose daughter had bulimia. It's a scary disorder. So important to know the signs to look for. Joyce Knestrick, CRNP, FAANP
Dawn Taylor
As a two time survivor, it’s important to note it’s not just adolescents. I think the number for women past the “typical age’ is about 15% and that’s estimated to be higher because a lot don’t seek treatment. Also, anorexia has the highest mortality rate for mental illness.

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