Eating disorders revolve around food and body weight, causing an individual to go to extremes when it comes to eating. The most common eating disorders are bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating. Most people develop these conditions during their teenage years.
If left untreated, eating disorders in teenagers can lead to serious health issues that can even become life-threatening. It’s best to monitor your child’s eating habits since they tend to change their diets from time to time. The most common symptoms of eating disorders are extreme weight loss, frequently skipping meals, or an unusual obsession with food. If you notice any of those symptoms, talk to your doctor.
However, if you want to help your child, here’s how you can protect and help them be more confident:
Get Professional Help
The best way to protect your child against eating disorders is to get professional help. Since most causes of these disorders are related to their mental health, it’s best to consult a therapist based and explore dialectical behavior therapy. It’s a treatment that can transform your teen’s negative thinking patterns into positive ones, enabling them to love and appreciate themselves.
It also helps to go with your child during therapy appointments. Doing this enables you to achieve three goals: ensuring that your child complies with the treatment plan, showing your support for their efforts, and discussing with your kid how their treatment session was on the way home.
It’s best to talk with your child about how their diet can affect their health, energy, and appearance. Start encouraging them to eat whenever they feel hungry. You can also make this method more effective by eating with the rest of the family.
Discuss Stereotypical Media Messages
Sadly, many movies, social media platforms, and television programs send the message that only a specific body type is acceptable. These media outlets can affect your teen’s way of thinking and discourage them from regularly eating if it means not staying in the acceptable ‘body trend.’ Encourage your teens to question what they watch and let them see that all body types are beautiful.
Instead of forcing them to change, respect your teen’s gradual accomplishments and support their goals. Listen when your child speaks and remind them that your love for them is unconditional, not based on their appearance.
Monitor their Health
Teenagers with eating disorders have an increased risk of developing various health conditions. For instance, teens with anorexia nervosa have a high risk of developing menstrual irregularities, constipation, and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). In comparison, teens with bulimia can develop heart failure and tooth decay. If you notice any of these signs, contact your teen’s pediatrician or primary care physician immediately.
Encourage them to Talk
Remind your teens that eating or controlling their day isn’t a healthy way to cope with their emotions. It’s best to encourage them to talk with you or their peers to help resolve the problems they might be facing.
Eating disorders can take a devastating toll on teenagers, damaging their overall health and well-being. That’s why it’s best to keep an eye on them. Doing these things makes them know they’re not alone and that you’re with them every step of the way.