Eating disorders tend to affect more girls than boys during adolescence. This is an emotional disorder that requires the intervention of a health-care professional before it becomes a life-threatening issue.
Some warning signs of anorexia are:
1. Losing 25 percent of normal body weight without being on a diet.
2. Having a distorted body image.
3. Dieting constantly even though she is thin.
4. Fear of weight gain.
5. Menstrual periods have stopped (this is known as amenorrhea).
6. Preoccupation with food, calories and eating.
7. Exercising excessively.
8. Binging and purging.
The warning signs of bulimia would include the following:
1. Eating uncontrollably (binges), often in secret.
2. Purging by vomiting, abusing laxatives or diuretics, or vigorously exercising. She also may compensate for eating with strict dieting or fasting.
3. Frequently visits the bathroom after eating a meal.
4. Preoccupied with body weight.
5. Experiencing depression or mood swings.
6. Having irregular periods.
7. Has dental problems, swollen cheek glands or is bloated.
If you think your adolescent suffers from either anorexia or bulimia, do not hesitate to seek the advice of your primary-care physician. Early treatment greatly enhances the chances of recovery.
Joyce Kyle is a licensed specialist clinical social worker who is one of four therapists at Client Centered Counseling, 105 E. Kansas, McPherson. She can be reached at 620-241-2300.