When we think of people with eating disorders, we often think of women who are so skinny that you can see all of their ribs, or girls who go in the bathroom to throw up after every meal. But just because you can’t see your daughter’s bones through her skin doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a problem with food.
There are many misconceptions about eating disorders and because February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month, we want to set the record straight. Bulimia and anorexia may be the most recognized names associated with an eating disorder, but there are other signs of an eating disorder that parents should watch out for.
Ilene Wynn, a registered dietitian and coordinator of the eating disorder program at Yellowbrick, says it’s important that parents observe their son or daughter’s behavior closely to look for some subtle warning signs that may indicate an eating disorder.
Here are signs of eating disorders to be on the lookout for:
How You Can Help
If you think that your son or daughter may be suffering from an eating disorder, there are ways you can help. Here’s some advice from Pan Tansey, director of professional relations at Yellowbrick.
Yellowbrick provides intensive outpatient services for young adults who suffer from anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, such as the ones mentioned above.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.