That The pandemic has not been good for anyone’s mental health and sadly, child mental health crises have increased, including eating disorders. While anorexia, or a fear of gaining weight, which usually manifests as restriction in food intake, which is the most talked about eating disorder, binge eating disorder can also negatively impact your child’s life and cause lifelong health problems. Here is what to look-and what to do-if you suspect your child may have one binge eating disorder.
What are the signs a binge eating disorder?
The National Association for Eating Disorderswhich has a hotline and provides resources for those who need support for all types of eating disorders bget an eating disorder (BED), as “recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, suffering, or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g. voiding) to counter binge eating.” They say it is the most common eating disorder in the United States.S and it’s recognized in the DSM, which is used to categorize mental illness (and trick your insurance into paying for treatment).
Some things to look out for in your child are:
- fear of gaining weight
- weight fluctuations
- Gastrointestinal complaints (cramps, heartburn, etc.)
- Body control (frequently looking in the mirror or in the window)
- Fear of eating or seeming uncomfortable eating around others
- Lack of food in the house or large quantities of packaging/containers
- Hoarding or hiding large amounts of favorite foods
- Try to hide overeating
- Diets or new eating habits or fads (eg.e. veganism, no carbohydrates, etc.)
- Signals that the child cannot stop overeating
- Eating rituals (eating only at certain times or certain dishes)
- Disturbance of normal eating habits (eating throughout the day instead of at meals, eating alone)
- Withdrawal from friends or activities
Please remember that your child, especially a teenager, can gain a significant amount of weight around puberty and this is not necessarily a sign that they are having binge eating. Sometimes kids get taller before they get wider, or vice versa. Be careful not to force your child into your own potentially disordered eating behaviors and examine your own body image biases.
What to do if you think your child has BED?
dr Bill Hudenko, Global Head of Mental Health at K health, says if you’re concerned that your child has disordered eating behaviors, “It’s important to consult a pediatrician, nutritionist, or mental health provider to determine if your child meets the criteria for a binge eating disorder.” fault fulfilled. In addition to the negative effects this disorder can have on your child’s body, early intervention will likely lead to better treatment before the behavior becomes too established.”
That please referng-Term Effects of Eating Disorders Mental health effects include, like anxiety and depression and lifelong physical consequences such as metabolic problems and cardiovascular health problems. Early treatment is crucial.
If your child is diagnosed with BED, Hudenko says, “It’s difficult to treat eating disorders because we all need food to survive. Of course, this means that you cannot eliminate eating entirely, but must work to change the child’s eating habits to achieve a healthier pattern.”
While you may have to try a few different treatments to find the one that works best for your child and family, Hudenko says the “ideal treatment for binge eating disorder would involve consultation with a well-trained psychiatrist, who can help the family to evaluate their food culture. Interventions would likely include restricting access to some foods typically used for binge eating, developing alternative coping mechanisms when foods are used to manage stress, and learning to slow the pace of eating while reading body signals of satiety. “
Many parents these days are coming out of the low-fat and fad diet era. We hope to spare our children the pain and heartache of our years of hating our bodies and wishing we were something else. By screening our children and making sure we stay up to date on potential eating disorders, We give them the gift of body acceptance and love to take with them into adulthood.