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How to detect eating disorders (in adolescents)

How to detect eating disorders (in adolescents)

May 7, 2021

With the arrival of summer, complexes also come and especially among young people and teenagers , they are related to your physique. These can lead to food problems, extreme diets and / or miraculous, destructive behaviors, ingestion of "medicines" ....

In this article we will see some warning signs, not alarms, in order to detect a possible eating disorder in time .

What are the most common eating disorders among young people?

But before we will define in broad strokes the two disorders that most concern parents of adolescents :

1. Anorexia nervosa

It is the refusal to maintain a normal weight according to age and height . An intense fear of getting fat even when under ideal weight, a distortion of one's own body image and a negation of the disease. It usually leads to amenorrhea (absence of the menstrual period).


2. Bulimia nervosa

Make reference to the p excessive reoccupation with food that leads to repeated episodes of excessive intake of food as well as practice of extreme measures to control weight (vomiting, laxative abuse, drug use, fasting, ...) -

We must bear in mind that these disorders not only come from a poor acquisition of eating habits, but also from a combination of emotional, family, social and cultural factors.

The importance of prevention

Both eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia) and obesity are problems where prevention is very important to be able to avoid them . These are really serious disorders and it is important that we know that their consequences are very negative and that they affect all areas: personal, physical, social, emotional, discrimination, malnutrition ....


Behaviors and signs that someone has an eating disorder

There are some behaviors and behaviors that can alert us that something is not right . Here are some warning signs, although if we detect some of them, it will be essential not to be alarmed and go to a professional to guide and advise.

Warning signs (not alarm)

  • Voluntary restriction of foods with high caloric content
  • Decrease or excess of water or liquid consumption
  • Odd behaviors related to the habit of eating: eat standing, cut food into small pieces, when you finish looking for pretexts to get moving ...
  • Increased physical activity or even compulsive exercise
  • Increase in study hours
  • Decreased sleep hours
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Excessive worry about weight
  • Disorder of your image
  • Denial of feelings of hunger, thirst, sleep and fatigue
  • Disinterest for leisure activities
  • Storage of food in different places
  • Intensive consumption of sugar-free gum
  • Excessive use of tobacco to reduce the anxiety of eating
  • Rejection of social meals
  • Self-induced vomiting
  • Decreased school performance
  • Denial of the disease
  • Difficulty of concentration and learning
  • Feeling guilty
  • Low self-esteem
  • Intense social life with isolation intervals

Guidelines for helping a teenager with worrying symptoms

It will be necessary, at all times, to support the adolescent , let's not forget that the person suffering from some of these disorders is suffering from a very difficult emotional situation and will need the support of their environment and especially of the parents and their family.


They usually have low self-esteem that makes them feel uninteresting, that creates a great insecurity and elevated states of anxiety. In addition they tend to have social problems, they may feel isolated, victims of teasing friends or with excessive pressure. Parents and families should avoid that boys and girls feel that their physique is the most important thing to develop successfully in society.

Individual, family and social support

Therefore what parents should do is to promote those factors that will protect the child and adolescent future of these, and other disorders:

  • Encourage family cohesion , offer good behavioral models, expose some cultural values ​​on the corporal beauty according to health, boost self-esteem, self-confidence and self-efficacy, offer social resources and allow them to solve problems, be aware and adjust parental expectations. ..
  • Promote good eating habits , as well as knowledge of the need to maintain a good diet and promote self-esteem and self-confidence. They will be the essential essentials.
  • Share meals with children , explain the consequences of poor diet, teach them good habits and meal times, build their self-esteem with them, feel capable of taking on problems and worries, foster parental-filial understanding and trust, not judge or blaming the children ... parents and children should share their interest in good nutrition and parents should be the appropriate role models.

We can not demand what we do not do, that is, if the parents eat poorly or in a disorganized way, they can not ask that their children have good eating habits, as the parents are responsible for teaching them the proper guidelines.

If we are able to carry out these guidelines and advice out, we will be able to help the young person with feeding problems. But It will also be essential to have professional support in order to tackle the causes of the disorder .


How Can I Tell if My Child Has an Eating Disorder? (May 2021).


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