Eating Disorders in Children and what signs should you be looking for?


Eating Disorders Anorexia and Bulimia.  


Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any mental health disorder. A common fallacy about eating disorders is that they only affect females, but the reality is that 15% of people with diagnosed eating disorders are men.

Only 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder pursue treatment. Most Kids who develop anorexia are usually Between the ages of 11 and 14, Some kids just don’t feel good about themselves on the inside and this makes them try to transform the outside. They might be depressed or stressed about things and feel like they have no control over their lives. They might be being bullied and it is a cry for help.


Anorexia Nervosa

Extreme dieting is  risky if it develops in to anorexia it can kill you.

Unrealistic body standards in society create a unsafe environment for women and particularly teens. Sociologists make a connection between anorexia and the pressure from society to lose weight. It is also a symptom of trauma where the person either unconsciously or consciously controls their eating because it is the only thing they can control. 

Anorexia Nervosa is an extreme lack of food leaving not enough nutrition and fuel to run the basic functions in the body. If the individual in question is below the range of underweight for their height then they are at a major risk. 

Women with anorexia can cause a complete suspension of menstrual periods and increases the risk of heart attack and disease. Anorexia has the highest death rate in females between 15-24 years of age. It can cause death through organ failure, is closely connected to suicide.


Bulimia Nervosa


Binging and purging is harder to notice than anorexia , Bulimia is hard to spot because many people keep a ‘healthy’ weight however bulimia is still damaging and can lead to a more noticeable eating disorder like anorexia or binge eating. Bulimia includes the use of laxatives or induced vomiting in order to eliminate the food that has just been eaten. Because of the repetitive of purging, bulimia produces a huge strain on the digestive system.

Oesophageal inflammations, destruction of tooth enamel and electrolyte imbalances are all a part of the harmful side effects of bulimia. The most dangerous and worst case scenarios of bulimia can lead to stroke or heart attack caused by nutritional imbalances.


Binge Eating


On the reverse side of the spectrum from anorexia, binge eating is an eating disorder that leads to extreme weight gain. Binge eating can be eating too much, too often or too much at once. Like all the other eating disorders, binge eating is linked to depression and anxiety. Signs of binge eating include eating when full or not hungry. Obesity increases the risk of heart failure, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, stroke .



Pica Syndrome


Eating or chewing on non-foods can be an obsessive-compulsive disorder caused by anxiety or lack of proper diet. Two of my children have this, it is a part of their autism. I had it while I was pregnant, I wanted to eat clothes washing detergent ! instead I used hot mints to compensate during the urges.

Pica syndrome can be dangerous as it involves eating objects that aren’t supposed to be ingested like hair or paper. My eldest eats plastic & paper. My middle child eats pen lids etc, lots of trips to the hospital. People can start at anytime eating random objects because the body is seeking nutrients that they are not receiving. Ingesting non-food materials can create blockages and lead to internal punctures or poison the body.




Here is a set of guidelines for parents to use to determine whether their child potentially has an eating disorder.


Symptoms of anorexia include:


 losing a large amount of weight
 denying feeling hungry
 exercising too much
 feeling fat
 withdrawing from social activities 


Symptoms of bulimia include:


 making excuses to go to the bathroom immediately after meals
 eating huge amounts of food without weight gain
 using laxatives or diuretics
 withdrawing from social activities


General  Signs of Eating Disorders:


 Weight loss is not normal for kids because they are growing.


 If a somebody is skipping meals, becomes fanatical about how many calories are in their food, wears  baggy or layered clothing all the time,  starts exercising compulsively, these may be extra signs something is wrong.


 With bulimia, the signs would be someone who’s storing or buying a lot of food, then hiding out to binge and purge.

Below is a list of symptoms common to sufferers of eating disorders, and the possible nutrient deficiencies that could cause them.


Deficiencies become apparent as symptoms before the eating disorder surfaces: a loss of appetite, intestinal pain, constipation, chest pain, anxiety, depression, and issues with sleeping. As the extreme Diet continues, nutrient levels reach unsafe lows and the signs of anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder surface.

Zinc deficiency is one in balance frequently seen in anorexia, which also causes appetite loss and a lowered sense of taste and smell. 

Binging and vomiting in bulimic patients, activate endorphins that release a feel good sensation in the brain. This euphoric feeling is anticipated in the patient because they are often fighting a chemical imbalance. Bulimics can have any sort of collective biochemical imbalances.  


Magnesium is often deficient,  It’s great for muscle tension, insomnia, and heart palpitations.


Serotonin: Bulimia and binge-eating is often treated with antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro They raise brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter  in the brain that causes a feeling of well-being and relaxation, and reduces hunger.


Thiamine:  Nutrient deficiencies can worsen anorexia,  it should be treated with nutrient rich diets. Restricting your diet will make you deficient in such vitamins as Vitamin B1. Common signs of thiamine deficiency are loss of appetite, weight loss, constipation, anxiety, chest pain and even sleep disturbance along with depression and irritation.


There are many places you can go to in each country, below is a link with extra information.





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