Studies show that in recent years eating disorders (ED), such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are becoming more common among children and adolescents. In fact, they are becoming “younger”. Earlier, adolescents used to be victims of eating disorders. Now such disorders can be observed even in 8-10-year-old children. This is due to the obsessive preoccupation with their appearance, the fear of gaining weight, the idealization of thinness. Other fetishes dictated by social networks. Girls are especially susceptible to this influence.
Therefore, it is important to know the signs of eating disorder – the earlier the disease is detected. The lower the risk of severe long-term complications and the higher the chances of a complete cure, experts say.
Here’s what to look out for:
- The child regularly refuses breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- The child is literally obsessed with workouts, especially after eating.
- The child is very selective at eating, excluding entire food groups from the diet. Alternatively, they eat only at certain times, for example, only in the morning.
- The children readily discuss the menu, but at the table, they only prick the food listlessly with a fork.
- The child drinks high-caffeinated energy drinks to suppress his appetite.
In a word, parents should be wary if the child starts to play sports every day, like a man possessed. It is also alarming if the child who used to eat everything stopped doing it or began to dodge food under any pretext. This should be a wake-up call for you.
If such behavior is combined with the signs of anxiety or depression – when the child has withdrawn into themselves and lost interest in everything that used to please them – it’s time to contact a specialist.
First, you still need to try to calmly talk about what is happening with the child himself.
Most likely, she or he will not want or be able to open up and speak frankly about her feelings at once, so you will need a lot of patience to talk them out. Perhaps it is better for this conversation to be conducted not by dad or mom, but by another adult whom the child trusts.