Eating Disorder Warning Signs
Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are what Dr. Phil calls a "silent epidemic." In the beginning, girls " and boys too " may choose to restrict their diets or to purge for one reason, but they end up continuing to do so because it becomes an addiction. Early intervention is crucial because once an eating disorder gets a grip on someone, it's far more difficult to treat.
There are warning signs that you do need to be looking for. "First off, you never see them eat. You'll see them push their food around the plate, but you'll see every kind of avoidance technique you can imagine because they regard food as poison," Dr. Phil explains. "If they're acting around food as though it's toxic or poisonous, that should be a clue for you."
Also, has your child been dressing in baggy clothes? "You're going to see really bulky sweaters and baggy pants to hide the weight loss and disguise the body," Dr. Phil says. "Look for extreme behaviors. Look for deception. Look for hiding."
Additional warning signs:
A significant change in apparent appetite
Excessive weight loss and an intense fear of weight gain
An unnatural preoccupation with food and calories
An obsession with clothing size, scales and mirrors
Routine secrecy, such as leaving the table immediately after eating to go behind closed doors
Avoidance of family meals or events at which food is present
Wearing bulky clothes to hide weight loss
Social withdrawal and moodiness
Binging: eating an amount of food larger than most people would eat
Self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, diuretics, enemas or other medications, or fasting for days following a binge
Hoarding food for later binges and eating in secret