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Warning Signs of Anorexia

Do You Think Your Child Needs Anorexia Treatment?

Are you worried because your son or daughter is skipping meals?

Is he or she constantly on the scale, obsessed with his/her body?

Anorexia treatment can be difficult to bring up with your child, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for. Can you tell if they are just trying to eat healthier, or if they are obsessed with their weight to the point of damaging their body?

These are ten commons signs of Anorexia Nervosa*:

1. Significant recent weight loss to the point where your child is well below the average weight for their age and height.

It can be hard to tell if your child is just looking different because of puberty or other changes, or if they are suffering from Anorexia. With Anorexia, the weight loss is significant and rapid. They will often look smaller and less healthy than their friends and classmates.

2. Restricting their own eating to only “safe” foods like fruit, vegetables, and other low fat items

Eating more fruit and vegetables is usually seen as a good sign, but with Anorexia, it becomes an obsession. Your child may be furious at themself for eating something unhealthy, or refusing other healthy but higher-calorie foods.  

3. Eating alone due to a fear of eating with family, friends, or in public

People suffering from Anorexia can feel disgusted with themselves for eating, and don’t want to be seen doing it. Eating alone also allows them to throw their food away secretly.

4. Going a long time between meals or skipping meals

This is probably the most obvious sign of Anorexia. Sometimes it’s normal to skip a meal, either due to stress or time, but if it happens too often, it may be a sign of Anorexia.

5. Weird food rituals like cutting food into tiny pieces or taking a very long time to eat

These actions help the sufferer feel like they are ingesting less food. It can also make it appear like she has been eating normally, even though they are leaving most of what’s on the plate.

6. Obsession with nutrition facts, counting calories, and avoiding dietary fat

Maybe it seems like your child is just trying to be healthy. Maybe they're an athlete and say they want to make sure they're getting the right nutrition. This becomes dangerous when it’s an obsession. Are they constantly looking up calories before eating, and always checking the label for fat?

7. Being cold all the time, covering up with layers of clothes

Anorexia can leave your child’s body weak and unable to keep them warm. Are they wearing extra layers when it’s warm outside? Are they always the one of their group of friends that wears pants instead of shorts or a hoodie instead of a t-shirt?

8. Reading recipes, cooking excessively for others and not eating it themself

As a way to cover up their condition, people with Anorexia often spend a lot of time in the kitchen. They may offer to cook dinner for everyone, but when the dinner is done, they say they’re “just not hungry”. 

9. Feeling fat even though they are underweight

It’s always hard to know exactly how your child is feeling. Are they acting ashamed of their body, or looking through photos of other incredibly thin people? Do they talk to their friends about how “fat” they are, or complain about their body?

10. They feel like their self worth is based on how much they weigh

Having a negative body image affects many girls and some boys, but with Anorexia, it’s the sole focus of life. Your child may make negative comments about themself because of their weight, or even refuse to go out with friends or talk to new people because of how they feel about themself.

There are many other signs of Anorexia, such as missing or delayed menstrual periods for girls.  

If you or someone you love is showing symptoms of Anorexia, call Pamela Orosan-Weine, PhD, at (734) 769-8050 or at email at pamelaorosanweine@gmail.com for Anorexia Treatment in Ann Arbor.

*Disclaimer: Anorexia is a serious, sometimes lethal, medical condition. If you have any concerns, it’s always best to see a medical professional about anorexia treatment. This article is in no way meant as a comprehensive list of symptoms or a medical diagnosis.