Sunday, May 26, 2024

How To Tell If Your Child Has An Eating Disorder

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You Get To Know Who Your True Friends Are

How Can I Tell if My Child Has an Eating Disorder?

Yes, for sure. At the same time, give people a chance. The minute you use a word like ‘anorexia’, it’s normal that the person should jump to a whole history of notions of what that means. Take a few minutes to educate them, even if it’s just “I’ve learned so much about it. It’s not at all what I used to think it’s not about being vain, or having deep psychological issues or all that stuff you see in the media.” And then give them a brief genetic explanation, or an analogy like “It’s like he has a hijacker holding a gun to his head, saying that if he eats he’ll be shot”.

When your friend starts giving you unwelcome advice, see if you can tell them, “You know, I have learned so much about this, and I’m confident I know we’re getting the best advice. From you, what would be most precious is your lovely friendship listening to my woes, taking me out for drinks, sending me messages of encouragement”

And of course, there are some people you won’t even try with. More in Chapter 11.

Are You Just Saying That To Make Me Feel Less Guilty

No. Researchers have looked for all the typical causes you might think of, and they haven’t found any links. Maybe you were dieting all the time and your child got anorexia? OK, so I didn’t diet and my child got anorexia. Maybe you regret being strict, working too much? I was quite laissez-faire and prioritised home life. And so it goes on.

I have : what is known, what has been disproved, what are they myths. I wrote a briefer account in Chapter 5 of my book here. I also recommend video ‘Do parents cause eating disorders? The experts speak’ as well as podcasts from Laura Collins Lyster-Mensch, so you hear it directly from the most enlightened professionals.

What Are Eating Disorders

Eating disorders in children and adolescents are serious psychological conditions that cause changes in eating habits and can lead to serious or even life threatening health problems.

There are three main types of eating disorders: 1. Anorexia nervosa, a condition in which a child refuses to eat adequate calories out of an intense and irrational fear of becoming fat and subsequently becomes underweight 2. Bulimia nervosa, a condition in which a child eats large quantities of food and then purges the food by vomiting or using laxatives to prevent weight gain 3. Binge eating disorder, a condition in which a child engages in binge eating, but without purging

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Why Would Our Child Accept Our Help When They Don’t Want To Get Better

You will help your child one meal at a time, even one bite at a time. Your confidence and your kindness will make it possible. The beauty of a family-based treatment approach is that your child can recover without every having decided they want to.

Hear more on this, and other ‘taking charge’ questions, in Bitesize:

Does Your Child Have An Eating Disorder 8 Warning Signs

Does Your Child Have an Eating Disorder?

by Elizabeth Easton, PsyD for

Previously, it was believed that eating disorders were “a teenage girl’s” disease. However, this is no longer the case. More men and boys, as well as younger and younger children, are seeking treatment for eating disorders and concerns.

About 35-37% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting or take diet pills or laxatives, reports the National Eating Disorders Association . Even more frightening is the fact that 42% of first- through third-grade girls say that they want to be thinner. That’s right, while learning multiplication tables and tallying money, kids are now consumed with counting calories.

These facts are shocking, and still, many people — and parents — are unaware of how prevalent and serious eating disorders are for young children, tweens and teenagers. Parents have a crucial role in educating themselves about eating disorders and body image issues and identifying possible warning signs, which could indicate the presence of an eating disorder in their child or adolescent.

Here are some of the most common warning signs that a child or teen potentially has an eating disorder.

  • Dramatic weight loss or drastic fluctuations
  • A preoccupation with weight, food, food labels and dieting
  • Excessive drinking of fluids or denial of hunger
  • Avoidance of meal times and situations involving food
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Excessive, rigid exercise regimen
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    I’ve Heard I Have To Do ‘life Stops Until You Eat’

    You may have heard this mantra from parents on forums. Originally, it was an instruction for parents: Parents, put your life on hold until your child has eaten. Cancel your appointments. Get off your mobile phone. Give your whole support to your child during this meal. I approve.

    But for many nowadays, ‘Life stops until you eat’ has become something parents tell their child to impress on them that there will be no school, no friends, no TV, no phone, no bed even, until they have eaten every last morsel. It is often tied to ‘consequences’ . It works for some. But I think it’s a blunt instrument, and that compassionate persistence is more effective and definitely less risky.

    Is Recovery From An Eating Disorder Possible What Does ‘remission’ Mean

    Therapists, families and especially researchers tend to mean different things by ‘recovery’. It’s an emotional word for carers and sufferers. Some therapists work towards full recovery as a realistic goal, while others believe the patient will always need to manage some level of risk. Whichever way you look at it, there is hope for your child lots of it, as I discuss here.

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    My Child Is Weight Restored But Stuck What To Do

    It may be that your child isn’t getting the treatment phase that comes after weight-restoration. Or it may be they are not truly weight-restored that their body needs more in order for the mind to have a chance to heal. More on Weight Restoration: Why and How Much Weight Gain? If your child was given a ‘one-size-fits-all’ target instead of an individualised target using their own growth chart and consideration of their symptoms, then there’s a high chance that their weight target was too low. More on: Is your childs target weight a gift to the eating disorder?

    What Are The Statistics For Suicide And Eating Disorders

    Five signs your child may have an eating disorder

    People with an eating disorder are several times more likely to commit suicide than those without an eating disorder, and I present statistics and charts here. Dear parents, if your child is suicidal, take it seriously. Otherwise, get on with compassionate treatment and leave these statistics to policy-makers.

    Read Also: What Are The Three Stages Of Schizophrenia

    I’m Confused How To Talk About Weight Body Shape And Healthy Eating

    Join the club! Most of us parents evolve in our own attitude, fat-phobias, healthy-eating guilt trips and so on, because we see the world through different eyes when our child has an eating disorder. Our current society is slightly mad and we’re all bathing in that corrosive juice! You can find some sensible talk from many experts in The Full Bloom Podcast.

    I Disagree With How Our Clinicians Deal With Weight

    This is a problem commonly faced by parents who have got themselves super-educated about eating disorders. Not all clinicians are updating their practices. In my articles on weight I included references and quotes from top experts, whom your clinicians, hopefully, respect. I hope this helps you make your case. After all, you could be speaking to another clinician in the next county who insists on the very same things you want. By the way, in any difficult discussion, it helps to agree to a time period, then review.

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    How Do I Find A Treatment Center Or Therapist

    Find a treatment center or an eating disorder specialist who takes your insurance in the Psychology Today Therapy Directory. Referrals from doctors or friends can also be helpful in this process.

    Parents will want to research a clinic or therapist beforehand. It can be helpful to ask questions about credentials, experience, past patient outcomes, treatment strategies, how progress is measured, and insurance plans and payment options.

    My Daughter Has An Eating Disorder What Can I Do To Help

    How to Recognize if Your Child Has an Eating Disorder

    Parents email me nearly every week. Moms or dads share that their daughter has an eating disorder: anorexia, bulimia or other challenges with food and weight. They all want to know the same thing: what can I do?

    Before I share what you, as a loved one, can do, I want to acknowledge that both sons and daughters struggle with eating disorders. If you are looking for signs or symptoms, here is a great article on what to look for. If you need treatment for your son, Im happy to refer you to specialists who treat males with eating disorders.

    Parents and loved ones can play a meaningful role in their daughters recovery! Below Im sharing the six top things to do and what not to do!

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    When We Are Angry At Another Person Including Our Child They Hear Only I Don’t Love You

    I promise you that this is true.

    No, we dont MEAN to say that, but what else COULD people hear while our words, tone, and behavior are screaming ME-ME-ME? I dont love you is what YOU hear and FEEL when people are angry at youthink about it honestlyand its what our children hear and feel when were angry at them. And then we have an anxious child or anxious teenager.

    Its little wonder that they respond with their own anger.

    Again, we do NOT mean to do this. We do not mean to hurt our children.

    But it was inevitable, because WE were not loved unconditionallywhich means being consistently loved without disappointment or anger. We were not loved freely, without conditionsso how could we possibly have learned how to unconditionally love our own children? IMPOSSIBLE.

    Nobody is to blame. Our ignorance of Real Love simply perpetuated over generations. We dont know how to love unconditionally because weve never seen it or felt it with any consistency.

    What Can I Say When I Discover My Child Has Been Binning Food In School

    In Chapter 14 of my book I give you principles and examples of empathy and dialogue. Here is one more example you might relate to. The child has secretly been binning food in school and the parent is trying to connect, understand and find solutions. Read it here.

    If your child is binning food in school they probably need more support than you thought. More on school support here.

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    Recovery From Eating Disorders And Body Image Issues Is Possible

    For Belinda, her recovery process took several years. She talked to a few psychologists and at one point, spent 14 weeks in hospital. I had a guardianship put on me which meant I couldnt legally leave the hospital until I hit 60 kilos, she said.

    Belindas turning point came the day after she went into cardiac arrest. I was 29 years old, she says. When I woke up, I had lost the use of my entire left side and was told I wouldnt walk again. I finally decided to fight for my life and refused to believe this was as good as it gets. Twelve months later, I was walking . . . and met the love of my life.

    Even though she was told she would never be able to have children, Belinda and her partner started IVF attempts a few years later. After several years, we were running out of money, so we decided to try one time. Ten months later, I had Maisey. She is my miracle and the love of my life.

    Belinda says she still struggles with her eating disorder but has developed coping mechanisms.

    There isnt a single day where I dont think, Maybe I shouldnt have one more bite, or calculate in my head the calories that are in the piece of apple I eat. But there comes a point in time where life just means more. I see my daughters face and it means more . . . and I choose me.

    Silent Signs Of Eating Disorders In Children

    How Do You Know If Your Child Has An Eating Disorder | Anorexia | Bulimia | Avoidance

    Readers DigestSeptember 2017

    At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S., according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders , and diagnosed cases of eating disorders in American children are on the rise. This is partly due to better screening and more open conversation about mental health in general, explains Heather Russo, Site Director at The Renfrew Center of Los Angeles, one of the countrys top treatment centers for eating disorders. We also see some stigma vanishing as social media has allowed children to openly speak about their own eating and body struggles. The difficulty facing children now is the abundance of messages about food and appearance on every screen in front of them.

    For parents of children with eating disorders, help is out there. Parents need allies in the fight against an eating disorder, says Russo. They need to work with a team of skilled professionals who can address the dietary, psychological and medical needs of their child. However, children dont often have the ability to express what they struggle with emotionally, so parents can watch out for the silent signs of an eating disorder.

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    If I Think My Child Or Teen Has An Ed What Can I Do

    So what can I do if I suspect my child or teen has or is developing an ED? The first step would be to talk to them. When talking to your child about the ED, it can help to:

  • Stay calm.
  • Donât blame or judge.
  • Concentrate on how they are feeling.
  • Emphasize that no matter what, you love them and will always be there for them.
  • Try not to feel hurt if they donât open up right away, and donât resent them for being secretive. This is due to their illness, not their relationship with you.
  • Ask them what you can do to help.
  • Be patient and listen to what they are trying to say, as the feelings behind the eating disorder may be really difficult for them to express.
  • The next, and very important step, is to take your child or teen to see their pediatrician. Your pediatrician can perform a more thorough assessment to determine whether your childâs eating behaviours are of concern and warrant treatment with a mental health professional. With early detection and treatment, your child or teen has a better chance of recovering from an ED.

    My Child Isn’t Progressing As Fast As Others Who’s To Blame

    Several possibilities:

    • Your child isn’t getting the best treatment available, or the treatment isn’t delivered by skilled, experienced clinicians. Or there is some loophole you are missing for instance what’s happening with your child’s eating in school? Check out my resources and work it out.
    • The treatment your child is getting is not suited to his/her particular needs . Discuss it with his or her team.
    • Eating disorders affect different people with different levels of severity, they are tough illnesses and treatment is still in its infancy. Perhaps you are all doing the best that can be done with our current knowledge, and your child would be more ill otherwise. Keep going. And if therapist is blaming you or your child for lack of progress, find another.
    • Perhaps comorbids need addressed sooner rather than later, for instance OCD or particular needs related to autism or to an earlier trauma. Perhaps your child needs more targeted help with depression or anxiety, or with volatile emotions as in borderline personality disorder . Perhaps there is a biological component that is maintaining the illness, as in gut microbiota and in basal ganglia encephalitis , which I say more about on this page.

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    Children As Young As 8 Can Develop Eating Disorders Like Anorexia And Bulimia Here Are Some Warning Signs As Well As Prevention Tips

    According to the Centers for Disease Control , one in five school-aged children is obese. Most parents are hyper-aware of Americas childhood obesity epidemic, and work hard to ensure that their children learn healthy eating habits at an early age. However, whats less apparent is the prevalence of fledgling eating disorders in the very young.

    Much is still unknown about why eating disorders occur in some children and not others. Genetics play a strong role in determining risk, but it isnt an insurmountable destiny. In fact, parents and child care professionals can play a huge role in helping kids avoid or even overcome an eating disorder, no matter their age. The key is in knowing what signs to look for and knowing what to do when you see them.

    ‘we Thought An Eating Disorder Meant You Had Someone Who Was Really Emaciated’

    Fussy? Your child may have Selective Eating Disorder

    At 17, Meryl’s daughter Julie started withdrawing from friends and taking time off from her classes.

    Then, once she started university, Julie began overexercising in the college gym. She went on to develop severe anxiety to the point she couldn’t leave her room.

    “We thought an eating disorder meant you had someone who was really emaciated,” says Meryl, who lives in rural NSW.

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    Finding Treatment For Your Child

    If your child is under the age of 18, they can begin treatment even if they dont yet recognize they have an eating disorder. Dont trust your child to evaluate whether theyre healthy or not, as people with eating disorders struggle to think objectively about their health and often deny they have a problem. If your child is over 18 and refuses treatment, consider using financial leverage and continued conversations to express your concerns. Medical guardianship must be court-ordered and is difficult to obtain, but sometimes it will be granted in life-or-death situations.

    If youre not sure where to get started, first contact your childs pediatrician for a physical exam and check-up. They can connect you to a professional who will evaluate your child and make a diagnosis as/if appropriate. The type of treatment will depend on your childs current physical condition, whether they are suicidal, how motivated they are to recover, and whether they also suffer from a co-occurring disorder like anxiety, depression, or substance use.

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