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How to Tell If Your Child Has an Eating Disorder

Learn the signs that your child has an eating disorder from Dr. Paul Hokemeyer in this Howcast video.


People who suffer from eating disorders we know are obsessively consumed with calories, calorie intakes, with body image, and how they're consuming food impacts their body and how they look in the world. So what we're looking for is a rigidity around food. We're looking to a stridency around food. So we're looking for people who have become very ritualistic around food. So for instance, they take certain foods and they'll refuse to eat it. They're very rigid about how they eat food. There is also a physical manifestation in people who have eating disorders from people who suffer from anorexia which means that they restrict their intake of food. We see profound weight loss. People become painfully thin. When I see somebody I know immediately because there is this painfulness into the way that they look. They're so thin. Also, people experience hair loss. They experience changes in their skin. They just don't look healthy because they're not receiving the appropriate nutrients that they need to nurture their body. Also if people were eating in secrecy, if they refuse to eat in front of other people, that's a sign that they could be suffering from distorted eating. If they are having trouble with their teeth, if they're having dental issues, that could be a sign of an eating disorder. But again, you want to look for this overall pattern. You want to look for physical manifestations of it, meaning that the way that they look, if they're looking unhealthy, if they're experiencing changes in their weight. And there is also this emotional change where they're very rigid around how they're eating or what they'll eat, the time that they're eating.

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