Symptoms of Anorexia- Parenting Advice

Anorexia is an eating disorder. It is started when a person, more often an adolescent girl, desires to lose weight and lose it fast by starving themselves. This obsession to be thin becomes all-consuming and potentially life threatening. Once the path is taken, it is difficult to turn back and hospitalization is often necessary. Parents, family and friends should know the signs should they suspect anorexia is taking control.

Signs of Anorexia

  • Exercising excessively
  • Vomiting after meals (also called bulimia and just as dangerous)
  • Breaking food into small pieces
  • Moving food around on plate – giving the appearance of having eaten
  • Finding hidden food from someone who is “old enough to know better”
  • Unusually frequent mood swings
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness
  • Changes in personality
  • Depression
  • Refusal to look in the mirror or a disgusted obsession with the mirror.

Negative effects of Anorexia in Children

All children want to be liked and television, Internet and magazines have all given the idea that super thin is “in”. What is seen will be emulated by many. This “extreme makeover” eventually takes a toll on their health and they find themselves with a serious eating disorder that can stay for a lifetime. Some of the more obvious effects of anorexia (and unfortunately when many parents discover that there is a problem) are:

  • Complete disgust with body image
  • Pain in the abdomen and constipation
  • Extreme weight loss and poor growth
  • Fuzzy thinking constantly
  • Feeling faint or light-headed
  • Puffiness in ankles and face
  • Poor circulation of blood
  • Dry and discolored skin
  • Missing periods
  • Brittle bones
  • Loss of hair

Parenting Advice

If parents notice the above symptoms in their children, they need to immediately get help. This is a psychological disorder and will take time to change a person’s mind as well as their eating habits. The recovery is possible only if the patient wants help – much like drugs and alcohol. Guidance and support is very important from parents and as such, parents really have a major role in helping their child come out of this sickness. Counseling sessions and a dietician are advisable. There are also hospitals and camps for aiding in recovery that could also be options. Whatever route is taken, offer unconditional love, support and encouragement foremost. Save the “I don’t understand why” speeches for later. One day, a child will offer thanks for saving their life.

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