What are the signs of anorexia or bulimia?
- Weight loss or unusual weight changes.
- Periods being irregular or stopping.
- Missing meals, eating very little and avoiding ‘fattening’ foods.
- Avoiding eating in public, secret eating.
- Large amounts of food disappearing from the cupboards.
- Believing they are fat when underweight.
- Exercising excessively, often in secret.
- Becoming preoccupied with food, cooking for other people, calorie counting and setting target weights.
- Going to the bathroom or toilet immediately after meals.
- Using laxatives and vomiting to control weight or sometimes other medications/herbal remedies to lose weight.
It may be difficult for parents or teachers to tell the difference between ordinary dieting in young people and a more serious problem. If you are concerned about your child’s weight and how they are eating, consult your doctor.
What effects can eating disorders have?
It’s important to remember that, if allowed to continue unchecked, both anorexia and bulimia can be life-threatening conditions; but if treated, most young people get better. Over time, they are harder to treat, and the effects become more serious.
- Heart disease
- Depression and suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
- Bone loss
- Stunted growth
- Digestive problems
- Kidney damage
- Severe tooth decay
- High or low blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gallbladder disease
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