How Do You Know If Your Teenager Has An Eating Disorder?

You might notice that your teenager is losing weight, but suspecting them of having an eating order is not something that many parents think about until the problem becomes severe. That's why it's important to pay attention to these possible signals that your teenager's weight loss issues are more serious than you thought.

Their Personality Changes

Teenagers are often dismissed if they're moody or irritable; people think that's normal. However, if you notice that their mood has worsened in accordance with their weight loss, they may not be eating enough, and nutritional deficiencies can start to manifest in personality and behavior changes. If they have anorexia, a disorder where they severely restrict calories, this is very likely to happen.

They Disappear After Eating

Teenagers can race off to their bedroom after a family meal to talk on the phone or do other activities. However, you've got to know whether they are making a pitstop in the bathroom. Bulimia, an eating disorder where people eat but induce vomiting afterwards, is very easy to hide for this reason. Your teenager can seem as if they are eating normally, but may be throwing up the food they're eating.

They Have Dental Problems

Dental problems are not a sign of an eating disorder on their own, of course. However, if you're noticing some of the other issues above and they are suddenly having discolored teeth and other dental issues, it could be a sign of a problem. Bulimics, because they vomit so often, can sometimes have accelerated tooth enamel erosion because of the frequent contact their teeth have with stomach acid.

They Frequent Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia Sites

Sometimes your teenager might leave behind clues online that they're having eating issues. When you check the browser history of your computer or their laptop and come across searches or websites that claim to be "pro-Ana" or "pro-Mia," be aware that there are people who know they are anorexic or bulimic. These communities are populated with a variety of people; some are seeking help, but some want to continue their bad habits and want people to leave them alone about it. If you see that your teenager has been looking for those sites or has mentioned "pro-Ana" or "pro-Mia," it is possible that they have their own issues they are working through.

Now that you've got some idea of what you should be looking for, keep a closer watch on your teenager so that you can get them help if they need it. There are many treatment options for eating disorders, so contact a few facilities in the area and discover what can be done for your teen.