Children and teens don’t always know how to express themselves, especially when they’re struggling emotionally. If you suspect that your child or teen may be struggling with an eating disorder, it is important to take this concern seriously and seek professional help.
Refusing to eat “unhealthy” foods i.e., cooked with butter, fried, etc.
Sudden Increased Interest in Their Appearance
While it is not uncommon for young people to care more about their appearance or feel insecure while their bodies continue to change, there comes the point where focusing on their physique can become a cause for concern. Unusual behaviors that may suggest a negative body image may include:
Spending excessive amounts of time in the mirror.
Increased focus on weight.
Working out excessively.
Avoiding wearing a swimsuit.
Wearing baggy clothes to hide their body.
Making statements that connect their appearance with self-worth.
Abnormal Fluctuations in Weight
While children and teens continue to grow, they are expected to gain weight as they enter adolescence. While in adults, a dramatic loss of weight is concerning, for young people, failure to gain the proper weight and even losing small amounts of weight can pose a problem.
Changes in Attitudes and Behavior
Isolation and irritability are two common signs that your child may be struggling with their mental health and potentially disordered eating. While they may not be actively trying to hide what they’re feeling and thinking, the following behaviors may suggest the presence of an eating disorder:
A drop in previously good grades.
Isolation from friends and social events.
It is important to note that the symptoms listed above are not a checklist—young people struggling with eating disorders won’t necessarily have all of these signs and symptoms simultaneously. Different eating disorders also have unique symptoms that accompany them; the symptoms listed above are general changes in behavior that may point to a more significant issue.
Seeking Help at Tapestry
At Tapestry, our treatment programs are dedicated to understanding our clients as whole people with varied life experiences. Whether you have questions about mental health or how to support a loved one struggling with their mental health, we are here for you. Contact us today by filling out a confidential form or give us a call at (828) 490-4032.