Statistics say that over 8 million Americans have some form of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are most prevalent in women, with seven million sufferers – one million are men. Out of all the documented and treatable illnesses, eating disorders are classified as the most fatal. Worse still, only one in ten people will seek treatment for their eating disorder – mostly due to shame, but also because their disorder deludes them into thinking that what they are doing is okay. Eating disorders are especially devastating, with the highest mortality rate, in young women between the ages of 15 to 24 years old. Knowing the signs and habits of someone with an eating disorder is the first defense in successfully treating them. Here are 5 signs that your teenage daughter has an eating disorder.
- One of the biggest signs that your teenage daughter might have an eating disorder is if she refuses to eat meals with other people. If you notice that she is avoiding eating dinner with the family, it might be a sign of shame in showing other people the amount of food she is eating. You might also notice that your daughter is avoiding eating lunch with other students at school or canceling plans to eat out with friends.
- Another big sign that your teenage daughter might have some form of eating disorder, specifically bulimia, is if you find food stashed in strange places in her room. If you find any kind of meals stored away in Tupperware or tin foil in her closet, under her bed, or even under her covers, it might be a sign that she is binge eating and subsequently purging. When said food is found, there is typically an emotional breakdown caused by the embarrassment of being caught.
- Embarrassment and depression is also another symptom of an eating disorder. You might want to look into an eating disorder treatment program if you find that your daughter is feeling a certain amount of guilt, shame, anxiety or depression. Young women with eating disorders find that eating any amount of food will lead them to have any number of these feelings.
- You might also find that your daughter might be overly dramatic or histrionic. One of the biggest ways people with eating disorders cope with their compulsions is by causing unwanted drama. This drama will distract them from their unwanted and unpleasant feelings of guilt and shame.
- Also, over eating is one of the most prevalent types of eating disorders. If you notice that your daughter is using food to cope with anxiety or stress, it may be a sign that she is compulsively eating. Emotional eating can be a vicious cycle for many young women, because the weight gained from compulsive eating can further fuel their stress. If you are starting to notice patterns that your daughter is finding too much solace and comfort in food, it might be time to talk to the family specialist to see what your options are to help her.