Whether it’s their eating habits, purging or exercise, young people with eating disorders are remarkably adept at hiding their disease, leaving parents to wonder, “Why is my child hiding these issues instead of asking for help?”
There are many frightening aspects of eating disorders, one of those being that it results in the highest rate of fatalities of all mental illnesses. Because some parents are unaware of their child’s illness, statistics are even more threatening. Research shows that when eating disorders go unnoticed and untreated, a staggering 20 percent of individuals could die from the disease.
Most individuals with eating disorders hide their habits out of embarrassment. Surveys have found that those with anorexia or bulimia are using their eating disorder as a form of control, such as adolescents in a turmoil-filled home.
Symptoms Of Eating Disorders In A Child
Parents need to better recognize the symptoms of eating disorders, and the signs that they could be developing the disease. Experts point to a multitude of behaviors and attitudes, including:
- Dramatic weight loss
- Obsessive behavior and discussion about weight, exercise and food intake
- Comments frequently about being overweight
- Denial of hunger
- Lying about already having eaten
- Developing rituals or obsessive habits when eating
- Disengaging from friends and family
- Signs of depression and anxiety
- Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
Genetic Link Of Eating Disorders
Another explanation that can be a factor in children developing an eating disorder is family history. Research has confirmed a genetic link between children with eating disorders often having a direct family member who has also been affected by the disease.
Don’t Wait – Get Eating Disorder Help For Your Child
Because eating disorders continue to be a prevalent problem, research about the disease has increased both knowledge and treatment options, and parents need to find the right treatment team for their child, whether that’s a therapist, a medical provider, a dietician, and treatment involving both mental and physical health professionals or a combination.
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