Learning that someone you love is suffering from eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia is never easy. Generally, women tend to suffer from eating disorders because they want to have a ‘perfect’ body. After the diagnosis, it is not only those with eating disorders are suffering but the struggle becomes a family matter.
Family support is important because there is a long road to recovery. There are many setbacks along the way to recover from serious eating disorders. Eating disorders are closely associated with low self-esteem and depression because those affected are unhappy about their weight and appearance. It can affect adolescent boys and girls because at this age, youths are trying to find self-identity. But nevertheless, it is much more prevalent among girls. The disorder is fueled by images of super-thin women in the movies.
Parents need to understand that anorexia nervosa happens when an individual is afraid of being fat and has an obsession to stay thin. To achieve the intended weight, affected individuals will avoid food by starving themselves. Some may also exercise excessively in order to shed what they perceived as ‘extra pound’. Parents need to understand that forcing your daughter to eat is not the right approach to make the matter go away because anorexia is a psychological problem. When your daughter shows some signs of anorexia such as intense fear of gaining weight, over-exercising, depression, distorted body image and abuse of laxatives, then it is time to persuade them to get medical help. Anorexia causes girls to stop menstruating and in some cases, it may lead to death.
On the other hand, bulimia is marked by individuals eating large quantities of food and subsequently, finds ways to vomit and get rid of it all. Similar to those affected with anorexia, bulimics also have problems with their weight and body image. Among some of the signs of bulimia are indigestion and sore throat, depression and mood swings, hidden stashes of food, dental changes consistent with frequent vomiting, eating uncontrollably all the time and frequent use of bathroom after eating. Because individuals affected could not stop purging, bulimia causes oral abrasions, dental cavities and loss of tooth enamel. Besides that, it can also cause dehydration, as well as damage to bowels, liver and kidneys. To tackle eating disorders among teenagers, try to teach them positive attitude towards having a healthy body weight. Encourage your kids to eat healthily. Remember to seek medical help if you suspect your daughter has an eating disorder (especially if they show signs of anorexia or bulimia).