Eating disorders are far too common today, however they are not always easy to spot. Anorexia, Bulemia, and binge eating are disorders that are not only detrimental to your health, but can cause death. Hollywood and the media put so much pressure on young people, boys and girls alike, that they feel the need to be skinny and will do whatever it takes to get there, including making themselves as unhealthy as possible. As a parent or friend, it can be hard to tell when someone you love has an eating disorder but here are some warning signs:
– Preoccupation with labels on foods, counting calories
– Drinking fluids in excess or denying hunger
– Avoiding situations where food or meals are involved
– Withdrawal from normal activities and friends
– Self-inducing vomiting or taking laxatives, diuretics, etc.
– Very rigid and excessive exercise routine
– A sudden change in clothing such as clothes that are far too big or clothes that reveal too much
– Need to be perfect
If you notice some of these warning signs, the best way to approach the person is to listen to them and support them. Tell them you are concerned and would like to help because you care. The worst ways to approach them are to blame them for their possible disease, or to tell them they are not good enough. Don’t try to help them emotionally because they need professional help with that. Don’t be afraid to upset them, somewhat. Anything that can be said that won’t upset them won’t be heard.
It is important for them to know that they don’t have to be embarrassed about the disorder or their treatment. Anyone with an eating disorder can get help so that they can overcome it.