'We had no idea she was anorexic'
Anorexia is a common problem amongst teenagers but isn't always easy to spot.
Very recently a friend of mine’s sister was diagnosed with anorexia. It all happened so quickly, because just the other day I was at their house and we were joking around without being aware that anything was wrong. Let’s call my friend Sasha- she's so thin she can fit through a straw.
Sasha has had a thin frame basically all her life and she’s been doing ballet for years so she’s always practising and active, which keeps her in shape. Her sister on the other hand who is a few years' younger didn’t do any sport and always had a little extra meat covering her bones.
Seeing the signs
After an incident at school, her sister had been acting a little strange and stopped eating in front of her family. Her family then noticed that she was becoming more moody than usual and picked up that she was losing a lot of weight.
Sasha and her sister didn’t really have the best of relationships and she also didn’t really confide in anyone else in the house besides her boyfriend that would visit often.
They asked him if he suspected anything and he said she was acting a bit strange. She lost so much weight to the point where they had to take her to hospital; next step was to the clinic. She was told to stay two weeks for observation but soon it was realised that the case was a bit more severe than that.
What I’m getting at is that parents need to stay vigilant when it comes to their teenagers, they are moody beings, but sometimes there could be way more behind the moodiness for example, bullying at school as well as deeper issues- incidents that may have happened when they were younger and just never got over.
General signs that may mean your teenager is suffering from anorexia may be:
• Mood swings are most common among teenagers in general, but change in personality may be of concern.
Example: If your teenager would generally sit at the table or in front of the television with the rest of the family and now prefers to sit by herself in her room; this may be a reason why you might want to check it out.
• Eating a lot of food at once or different kind of eating habits.
Example: If your teenager starts eating more than usual or shies away from eating in front of people they are generally used to eating in front of; there may be something wrong.
• Change in choice of clothing.
Example: If they started wearing loose, baggy clothing; they may be trying to hide their rapid loss of weight. This also keeps the sufferer warm as one symptom of an eating disorder is inability to maintain body temperature.
• Throwing up their food and/or use of laxatives.
Example: This may be a sign of anorexia or even bulimia.
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Have you experienced anorexia in your family or have you yourself been a sufferer of anorexia?