Eating disorders aren't as always obvious in adolescent girls as one would think. Dramatic weight loss, a refusal to eat - both are obvious signs that are hard to miss. But there are other more subtle signs of eating disorders that you may not notice in your own teenager. Here's a look at some of those:
Dry and blotchy skin caused by dehydration can signal ongoing issues with anorexia and bulimia. Frequent purging and use of laxatives can cause serious dehydration. Other signs of dehydration include dry mouth, as well as sunken cheeks and eyes.
One common symptom of anorexia is frequently feeling cold, which is the result of malnutrition and low body weight. Wearing heavy clothing even in mild weather is one example of this symptom.
Fear of Eating in Public
A teen who is shy or self-conscious about eating in public may be suffering from body image issues related to eating disorders. It can be an indication that eating has become an event that's anxiety-provoking to them. It's a common indicator of anorexia, but it can occur with all eating disorders.
Fine Body Hair
Teens who are suffering from malnutrition often develop soft, downy body hair that's almost like a thin film of fur. This is noticeable on their arms and other parts of the body. The hair is one of the body's adaptations to low weight and loss of body fat.
Swelling along the jawline is typically associated with bulimia (but can occur with other disorders associated with eating). Swollen cheeks are a result of swollen salivary glands.
Obsessive exercising may be a sign of body dysmorphic disorder, which is linked to the belief that the person's body is terribly flawed. It's sometimes not easy to see when a person's exercise has crossed the line to become excessive, but one sign is that the person panics when they have to miss a workout. Or, exercise begins to interfere with other priorities, such as school, work and social obligations.
If you think your teen would benefit from a deeply therapeutic and academic environment, then Turning Winds Academic Institute can help them get their lives back on track. Located in scenic Troy, Montana, Turning Winds offers a personal wilderness experience as well as the benefits of a traditional residential treatment center.
Eating disorders can be life threatening, if you think a loved one is suffering please call us, 800-845-1380