Recognizing Eating Disorders
Signs and symptoms vary, depending on the type of eating disorder. Be alert for eating patterns and beliefs that might signal unhealthy behavior. Some red flags that might indicate an eating disorder include:
Tips for Helping
Parents, relatives, friends, and other caring adults can help a child or teen who is showing signs of an eating disorder. It is important to take these 4 steps if you have concerns:
Pay attention to warning signs of eating disorders, including changes in behaviors around food, physical changes, types of social media use, and conversations about food or body image.
Listen openly, reflectively, and without judgment. If you do not understand, ask how your child is feeling and how you can best support them. Validate their feelings instead of immediately offering solutions.
Learn more about eating disorders and recovery, including facts and myths. Reading about or speaking with other parents who have supported their children in recovery is also helpful and is often a part of treatment programs.
Remind them that you are there to support them and just want them to be well. Focus on positive personality traits and emotional health instead of exclusively focusing on food-related behavior. Model recovery in your own relationship with food, weight, and exercise, and work to create an environment where the whole family is promoting healthy behaviors and alternatives.
Source: Mental Health America
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