How to Recognize Signs of an Eating Disorder
These possible effects are in addition to the psychological trauma of engaging in an eating disorder as well as pain, weakness, dizziness, and if potassium levels drop significantly for an extended period of time, kidney failure.
Signs of Anorexia
With anorexia, there is also an obsessive (and often irrational) fear of becoming fat. Unlike bulimia, the child usually refrains from eating. However, sometimes a child will suffer from both bulimia and anorexia. The child may binge and purge but is also underweight. Here are some signs that you can look for concerning anorexia:
- Child is underweight;
- The belief that they are overweight even if they are underweight;
- Child does not recognize that their low weight is an issue;
- An unhealthy perception of their body image;
- An obsession with only eating low-fat foods, reading food labels, constant fixation on the calories and fat content in foods they are eating, repulsed by foods they formerly loved (like ice cream, desserts, and fattier foods);
- Frequently talks about fear of gaining weight and/or need to lose weight;
- Exercises excessively;
- Child lies about how much food they are eating;
- Child weighs themselves frequently;
- Child develops eating rituals such as cutting food into tiny pieces, pushing food around on plate, hiding food under napkins, etc.;
- If menstruating, cycle becomes irregular or stops;
- Child avoids eating, skips meals, will not eat in front of others, comes up with excuses why they can't/won't eat with the family.