Signs of Eating Disorders in Your Child

Dear Sara,

I have a thirteen year old daughter. Her best friend came to me and told me that my daughter is deliberately throwing up in order to control her weight. I have also noticed that she keeps a supply of junk food in her room. Do you think that she is bulimic? What can I do to stop this scary behavior?

Dear Barb,

Your daughter really has a good friend. She realizes that she can’t help her friend by herself. If your daughter has been doing this for a while, it may be difficult to get her to stop without some professional help. Bulimia can take over and control your daughter’s life.

Things that you can watch for are: erratic eating (eating too much or too little), fear of putting on weight, preoccupation with food, hiding food, feeling shame or guilt, depression.

Self induced vomiting, excess exercise, using laxatives, disappearing into the bathroom after meals, any other kind of out of control behavior like shop lifting, sleeping around, choosing bad relationships or substance abuse.

Your first step would be to talk with your daughter and let her know that you will do your best to help her. She has to want to stop her negative behavior. She will also need to see a physician for a checkup. See if you can find one with experience in this kind of behavior.

I hope that you will catch this early and your daughter will have a good outcome.