Warning Signs of Anorexia

Knowing the warning signs of anorexia can help parents to aid their child in receiving treatment before the disease progresses to dangerous levels.

No parent wants to believe that her child could be suffering from an eating disorder, but each year thousands of children, teens and young adults are diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder that causes a person to starve him or herself. Anorexia tends to develop in young people (especially girls, but not always) who have a need for some control in their life. If your child is under a great deal of stress in his or her academic or personal life, it could signal susceptibility to anorexia. 

Anorexia is not always easy to recognize because many young people are concerned about their weight without suffering from the disease. If you have any concern at all, it is important to talk to your child and possibly seek professional help. Knowing the warning signs of anorexia can help parents to aid their child in receiving treatment before the disease progresses to dangerous levels.

Weight Loss
This can be an indicator of anorexia, but many girls with anorexia do not have extreme weight loss. However, if your child loses weight suddenly or dramatically, you should be concerned about anorexia.

Obsession With  Food
People with anorexia are obsessed with food. Although they restrict what they eat, food consumes them. They may eat very small portions or eat unusual food combinations.  They may be preoccupied with calories or cooking. Look out for teens and young adults who always have an excuse as to why they're not eating . Another warning sign of anorexia is someone who is constantly drinking diet soda. 

Distorted Body Image
A major indicator of anorexia is that a young girl does not see her body as it truly is. She may think that she is fat, even if she's far from it. She may particularly hate one area of her body, such as her stomach or thighs. People with anorexia are never satisfied with their body, no matter how thin they get. Many young women with anorexia weigh themselves frequently as well.

Emotions
Some people with anorexia have trouble discussing their feelings or brush off concerns others have about their health with simple excuses. They may be moody and respond to confrontation with extreme actions, such as bursts of anger or withdrawal. 

Excessive Exercise
A teen who exercises constantly may be trying to do more than get in shape for the soccer team. Obsessive exercise is often an indicator of a bigger problem.

Nausea or Bloating
People with anorexia often complain about feeling nauseas or bloated after eating, even if they ate a normal (or less than normal) amount.

Feeling Cold
Girls with anorexia often feel cold. If your daughter seems to be cold all the time, especially if the temperature is normal or nobody else seems chilly, it can be a warning sign of anorexia. Look for someone who dresses in layers to combat feeling cold.

Hair Loss
Losing hair or having thinning hair is common among those with anorexia.

Stops Getting Her Period
Sometimes girls with anorexia stop getting their period because their body has undergone too much stress. You may notice this in conjunction with severe weight loss.

Self-harm
Self-harm can be an indicator of anorexia, as well as other disorders that require professional treatment.

Eating disorders can be treated, but remaining recovered is a lifelong battle. Treating anorexia may involve psychological help as well as nutritional feeding and medical monitoring. Talk to your child's doctor if you fear that he or she has anorexia.

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