What is anorexia and why are so many teens suffering from this disease? Eating disorders are becoming more and more common among teens even though they have been around for many years. Anorexia is basically defined as:
- A refusal to eat
- Fear of gaining weight
- Fear of maintaining body weight
Some signs that your teen may have anorexia are:
- Obvious low weight
- Obsession over weight
- Refusal to eat
- Fear of food or weight gain
- Distorted body image
- Hides food, hoards food
- Unusual eating habits or rituals
- Personality changes
- Other behavioral changes
Many people have the false idea that anorexia is about going on a diet or being thin and that is not what true anorexia is. This eating disorder has more to do with self-esteem, body image and control. Anorexics are often very smart, popular or try to please everyone. They are those students that get good grades, have lots of friends, do extra-curricular activities and more. They are usually the children that try to always make their parents happy. The eating disorder develops as a way of trying to find some control over a world that they feel is moving too fast for them.
There are many dangerous and sometimes permanent body damages done by anorexia such as liver damage, menstrual problems, dizziness, fainting, heart problems, baldness, pancreatitis and much more. Anorexia should be treated as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage.
How Can You Help Your Teen?
If you suspect your teen has anorexia, you need to get professional help. You need to get your child to a doctor for a health exam. A professional can help you choose the best way of helping your child. But you will also need to get yourself in counseling to help you know the best way to help and support your child. It is not enough for you to just tell yoru teen to eat. In fact, since anorexia is not really about the food, but more about the control, my trying to force your teen to eat, you will actually be making it worse.
You need to focus more on understanding and supporting your teen through recovery and the best way you can do this is to learn as much as anorexia as possible and talk with other parents and get counseling and advice for yourself on how to support your teen and how to handle certain situations.