What Signs Should I Look For If I Think My Child Has An Eating Disorder?

Question: What signs should I look for if I think my child has an eating disorder?

Answer: There are some signs that you need to look for even before you confront the child. Now, it's important to notice any sudden changes in weight -- either gaining weight or losing weight drastically. It's important to notice whether your child's appetite has increased or decreased without a sudden, you know, change in weight as well.

Also, look at the types of foods they're eating. If all of a sudden your child never ate vegetables and all they want to do is eat lettuce, that's another sign. So, significant changes in diet, in eating style, also in fatigue level. Children who are not eating very much may be more likely to be lethargic and tired.

If you feel that your child is bulimic and purging food that they have already eaten, it's important to look at other signs. For example, ask their dentist if there are any significant changes in their teeth, especially on the inside of the mouth, on the inside of the teeth, the inner edge. Also you want to look at knuckles. Children who are bulimic are often are sticking their hands down their throat and you will find that their knuckles or sometimes their fingertips are a bit abrasive. They're raw from continuing to purge. These physical actions will be noticeable if you look.

Also, if you think your child has an eating disorder it's time to talk to your child's pediatrician, because recovering from an eating disorder is not something a child can do on his or her own. It needs, really, family intervention and also often the intervention of a mental health professional.