Is Your Teen Suffering from an Eating Disorder? Here Are the Signs

Woman suffering from eating disorder trying to eat a pea

Kids, especially teenagers, can suffer from great amounts of stress. Schoolwork, peer pressure, politics, or just merely conforming can lead to a deluge of problems that may include eating disorders.

Not Eating Properly or Not Eating at All

Anorexia can affect people from all walks of life. Celebrities and models stand out because of press coverage — but average high school students are also vulnerable to this condition. If your child is noticeably thinning or frequently refusing to eat, it may be time to consult specialists.

Treatment options can range from simply talking about the problem and understanding what drives your child’s anorexia to partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. Anorexia is very serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It can be dangerous and even fatal.

Binging and Purging

Teens with bulimia may seem to be eating normally and sometimes even excessively. After eating, they make induce vomiting or take laxatives to purge food out of their system. Bulimia is harder to spot because weight-loss isn’t drastic or even noticeable at times.

Purging the body of food — through vomiting or laxatives — can be extremely dangerous. Induced vomiting can cause stomach acids to damage your child’s teeth, throat, esophagus, and lead other more serious conditions.

Taking laxatives on a regular basis is also unhealthy and can cause bone-loss and various kidney and heart problems. Like anorexia cases, treatment may include some form of hospitalization and therapy.


Binge-eating or stress-eating is considered normal — but people with the actual condition go further in their binges. Binge-eaters may consume great amounts of food even if they’re not hungry or simply as a response to stress.

Feelings of shame, guilt, distress, and sometimes self-loathing are associated with this condition. Weight-gain is almost unavoidable. You might miss the symptoms in your child and attribute the binging to merely an increased appetite.

Psychological and social factors usually induce this condition. Counseling, therapy, and family support are essential in treating people suffering from this condition.

Every eating disorder can be dangerous. Try to notice changes in your child’s behavior — especially if they seem unusually stressed or depressed — and take measures to keep your child safe.