Below are some of the behaviors a parent might be observing as a loved one develops an eating disorder. Some are related to food, and some are not. Some are present before an eating disorder comes into the picture, and some increase in intensity as the illness progresses.
Avoiding a widening range of foods
Avoiding situations where communal eating is expected
New interest in "healthy," "low-fat," "low-carb" or "vegetarian" diets
Inflexibility about what or when or how much to eat
Unnatural focus on what others are eating
Need to know calorie content of all foods
Never available for family meals
New interest in cooking and recipes but avoiding eating the food
Foods, especially carbohydrates, disappearing quickly from the house (secret binging)
Secretive or ritualistic eating
Avoiding food until certain hours
Anger at others if pressed to eat something
Fear of over-eating, or gaining weight from a particular meal or type of food
Exercising intensely but without pleasure
Needing to exercise to compensate for eating
Failure to gain weight or height according to growth curve
Weight loss at any time during childhood or adolescence
A conviction that one is too large
Unnatural focus on the flaws of a particular body part or aspect of the body
Repetitive requests for reassurance about appearance
An inability to understand that they may be ill (anosognosia).
Reports others are newly judgmental or "not connecting"
Inability to describe emotions
If a loved one shows only a few of the symptoms of an eating disorder, or denies that anything is wrong, this is NOT a reason to put the issue aside.
FACT: Resistance to treatment is normal.
Denying and concealing symptoms are a common symptom of brain changes associated with eating disorders and resulting malnutrition.
FACT: Early intervention increases the effectiveness of treatment.
Early detection and assertive treatment are the best way to prevent chronic illness and death from an eating disorder.
Pertaining to an illness or disability in which the sufferer seems to be unaware of, or denies, the disability. Patients with anorexia nervosa are often "anosognosic" as they truly do not feel ill and they experience their own behaviors and thoughts as normal. This is not a choice or conscious denial, but rather a feature of brain dysfunction. Also see Egosyntonic and Denial.
"Higher BMI prior to onset of AN, higher BMI at first discharge, and lower age at first admission predicted a normal BMI (>17.5) at follow-up in a model of logistic regression."
"Moreover, the group with an onset in adolescence
but who had been ill for over 3 years had a poor response to both family
and individual therapy, suggesting that unless effective treatment is
given within the first 3 years of illness onset, the outcome is poor."
F.E.A.S.T. (FAMILIES EMPOWERED AND SUPPORTING TREATMENT OF EATING DISORDERS)
email@example.com | US +1 855-50-FEAST | Canada +1 647-247-1339 |
Australia +61 731886675 | UK +44 3308280031
F.E.A.S.T. is registered as a nonprofit
organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue
Code. Information on this site is meant to support, not replace,
professional consultation. Unless otherwise noted, content is edited by
F.E.A.S.T. volunteers with assistance from our Professional Advisory
F.E.A.S.T. | P.O. Box 11608 |
Milwaukee, WI 53211 USA