An eating disorder can have a long-term impact on your teenager's health. Although it is challenging, it is important that you help your teen get the treatment that he or she needs. Without it, your teen could be at risk of struggling with the disorder the rest of his or her life. If you suspect that your teen has an eating disorder, here is what you need to know.
Does Your Teen Have an Eating Disorder?
Depending on how well your teen has attempted to hide the disorder, it might not be immediately evident. However, there are signs you can look for that could give you an indication that there is a problem.
One of the more noticeable signs of an eating disorder is a change to your child's weight. Your teen might also be suffering from a disorder if he or she seems to be obsessed with his or her weight. Your teen could resort to a strict diet that severely limits what he or she eats. However, your teen might also binge eat in anticipation of eating laxatives or vomiting later.
If you have a teenage daughter, the changes in her diet can sometimes cause disruptions in her menstrual cycle. For instance, her periods could occur far less or stop altogether.
Eating disorders can often lead to the development of other medical conditions, such as anemia. If you notice your teen complaining of fatigue a lot or he or she seems to be cold all the time, a disorder could be to blame.
What Can You Do?
Approaching your teen about a suspected eating disorder is difficult. However, due to the serious consequences associated with disorders, it is important that you talk to him or her about your suspicions. Before talking to him or her though, take the time to prepare.
Reading about eating disorders and talking to your teen's doctor can help you build your case for why you believe a disorder exists. The more prepared you are, the less likely it is that your teen will deny that he or she has a disorder and needs help.
When you do talk to your teen, avoid accusations. Even if your teen does not admit to having a problem, do not accuse him or her. Try to stay compassionate and listen to your teen.
One of the most important steps you can take is to seek professional help from an eating disorder treatment facility. Professionals can help to diagnose your teen and create a treatment plan to help him or her overcome the disorder. For additional reading, visit a treatment clinic in your area.