Eating disorders are complex and potentially life-threatening conditions that affect an individual’s health and relationships. According to NationalEatingDisorders.org, approximately 20 million women in the United States suffer from a type of eating disorder. These disorders often begin early on in life with concerns about body shape and weight. In fact, approximately 40 to 60 percent of girls between the ages of six to 12 are concerned about weighing more than is socially acceptable. This concern can continue throughout their life.
Types of Eating Disorders
There are a few different types of eating disorders every parent should be aware:
- – Anorexia Nervosa
- – Bulimia Nervosa
- – Binge Eating Disorder
Each type of eating disorder has a negative effect on the body, both physically and emotionally. Physically, the body is denied the nutrients it needs. The brain is deprived of the energy it requires to function correctly and process information. Eating disorders can lead to serious complications, like damage to the kidneys, liver, brain, bones and heart. Getting help for troubled teens suffering from eating disorders from a physical therapist, dietitian, psychiatrist and medical doctor are essential components to recovery.
Helping your daughter overcome negative thinking patterns and dealing with the root of the problem will often take time. Recovery is a journey.
Signs of Eating Disorders
So, how do you know if your daughter is suffering from an eating disorder? Some of the most common symptoms include:
- 1. Eating in secret
- 2. Consuming large quantities of food in one sitting
- 3. Dramatic weight loss
- 4. Counting calories
- 5. Finding food packaging stuffed to the bottom of the trash
- 6. Avoiding foods or becoming anxious when confronted with high-fat foods
- 7. Consistently making comments about being ‘fat’
- 8. Frequent trips to the bathroom directly after meals. This goes hand in hand with always running water when in the bathroom (to cover up the sound of vomiting)
- 9. Exercising excessively
- 10. Red marks on hands about an inch below the pointer finger. This can occur from induced vomiting and is actually scratches on the hand from the two front teeth.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of eating disorders is an important first step to getting your daughter the help she needs. With the right support, your daughter can learn how to think of food in a healthy way and learn healthy eating habits.
Greenbrier Academy for Girls: Addressing Eating Disorders
At our therapeutic boarding school, we offer a holistic approach to help teen girls struggling with eating disorders. Depending on the severity, we offer help for troubled teens in the form of random weigh-ins, observation of the girls after meals, monitoring food choices and checking nutrition levels. If necessary, we can also monitor your daughter while she uses the restroom to ensure she isn’t vomiting or taking laxatives after meals.
Along with checking nutrition levels, our Medical Coordinator performs a thorough medical screening and speaks to students about their health. The medical screenings include monitoring hair, mouth, eyes and skin tone, which can be negatively affected by eating disorders.
In addition, our therapists work one-on-one with each student to help them understand their choices and negative thinking patterns. Your daughter will learn to address body issues and gain a healthy self image. Monitoring is important to keep your daughter on the right track, but the real help comes when your daughter has changed her relationship with food as well as with herself.
Is your daughter suffering from an eating disorder? Pay attention to some of the most common signs and get help for your teen if she needs it.