Pre-Teen Eating Disorders

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 10 million females are currently dealing with eating disorders such as anorexia, and bulimia. It is also estimated that 25 million more are struggling with the binging and purging disorder. Among these disorders, however, anorexia is the most prevalent and has become a pandemic in our society. The death rate is twelve times high than all other diseases combined. Yes, pre-teen eating disorders are on the rise.

While these statistics are frightening, you as a parent can recognize the signs and help prevent your child from becoming a statistic. Let’s focus in on anorexia, since it is the most serious and debilitating of all eating disorders.

Here are the signs and symptoms to look out for in your child.

1. Is she losing weight at an alarming rate?
2. Are her clothes too big for her?
3. Has she taken on a paler look?
4. Is she spending more time in her room than usual?
5. Does she make excuses for not eating dinner with the family?
6. When she does sit at the table for family dinner, does she move the food around her plate simulating that she is eating.
7. Have you heard her comment she is too fat?
8. Does she seem lethargic and guarded?
9. Is she having many unusual mood swings?

If you notice any of these signs, your child is probably anorexic. To be certain, you would have to confront her at a time when she is just coming out of the shower or bath so that you can look at her body. Then, you can confirm your suspicions. Remember, you can place your pre-teen in front of a mirror to show them they are not fat, but fat is all they see. You can’t convince them otherwise.

As an anorexic, your child will experience dizziness and fainting spells. Symptoms will advance including damage to her kidneys, her menstruation will cease, and her muscles will begin to feed her body. Finally, upon diagnosis, the doctor may recommend hospitalization wherein she would have to be tube-fed, following by rigorous counseling.

Pre-teen eating disorders are on the rise, and they can be a devastating consequence to a child’s early perception of what they think they look like. Karen Carpenter and other famous celebrities succumbed to anorexia at young ages, and it is important for all parents to become knowledgeable on all eating disorders which may affect their kids.