Three things about Eating disorders in children you wish you knew sooner
- What it looks like: Eating disorders come in many different shapes and sizes. However there are some warning signs that you can look for.
- Lost interest in food: This may seem obvious, however it is very important to pay attention to your little ones eating habits.
- Weight loss: This one is a big one. Children are constantly growing. Weight loss can be very hard on their little bodies. They need to be getting enough nutrients to continue to grow in a healthy manner.
- Behavior changes: Some times your little one might throw a temper tantrum and that is normal. However when they constantly seem upset, getting aggressive, or have mood swings, you might want to talk to your doctor about that.
These signs may seem simple, and obvious, but your little one is relying on you to be vigilant and making sure that they are getting the help that they need.
Some of the most common eating disorders include
- Anorexia- When anorexia is present there is a very low body weight. These individuals suffer from an intense fear of gaining weight. They usually have a distorted view of their bodies.
- Bulimia-Someone suffering from Bulimia will typically binge eat then purge it. They suffer from sore throats, and their teeth can be eroded from the acid. Keep in mind that vomiting is not the only way that the food can be purged. Laxatives are also known to be something someone suffering from Bulimia will use.
- Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder– This is when an individual will avoid food altogether. They have little to no interest in food. They also can have an intense fear of choking and or vomiting, which leads to the aversion to food.
- Why is this happening: There are several reasons your little one might be suffering with an eating disorder. Stress is one of the reasons they might be struggling. When a child is stressed out for reasons out of their control they will sometimes go to the extreme with something that they can control. Eating habits is one of these. Another reason would be genetics. Again this reason is out of the child’s hands, however if you know your family has a history of eating disorders be proactive and get your child help before it gets to this point. It’s never too early to get your little one help! Another common trigger, especially in girls, is peer pressure. Children look at magazines, other children at school, or on tv, and see all these people who have been photo-shopped or are “skinny” and think that is what everyone should look like. This is a hard one to avoid. These are just a few of the causes that you can look out for.
- How to help: Talk about it. Talk to your little one to see what is going on. Give them support. Talk about it to your doctor. Your doctor can give you the information, and support you and your family need to get your child back on the right track. Keep the line of communication between you and your child open.
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