Young people attach great importance to their appearance. Unfortunately sometimes, caring for a slim figure turns into obsession. Eating disorders are a problem that affects many teenagers. Parents often do not know what to do when slimming becomes their child’s obsession. Therefore, it is worth explaining when and what action to take to provide the teenager with proper help. What to do if your child is at risk of obsessive slimming?
Obsessive slimming of a teenager - what to look for?
The mere fact that a teenage daughter or teenage son is deciding to lose weight does not mean that the help is needed. However, there are some signs that should worry parents. Teenagers have the right to care for a slim figure, but you can not allow emaciation. Excessive weight loss, eating very small meals and a decrease in BMI below 18.5 are signs that more attention should be paid to the child’s behaviour. Other worrying symptoms include provoking vomiting, taking laxatives, doing exhausting physical exercises, and misunderstanding of body needs. Health symptoms of starvation are dryness and peeling of the skin, hair loss, and in the case of girls also the disappearance of menstruation. It should be remembered that those who starve themselves can hide this fact by avoiding meals eaten with other people and wearing loose clothing that masks emaciation.
How can you help your child? Obsessive slimming is absolutely manageable!
Although in such a situation it is difficult to remain calm, because of fear for the health and life of your child, it is necessary to control the emotions. Shouts and threats are not a good way to communicate with a teenager who suffers from eating disorders. Forcing to eat won’t help either. Unfortunately, in this situation, the only fully effective method of treatment is psychotherapy. Both individual and family therapy are very often used. The biggest problem is convincing the teenager that he needs help. Unfortunately, many people go to a psychotherapist only when they have serious health problems caused by weight loss. It should be remembered that not only psychological help is needed. It is necessary to apply a proper diet and start treatment of diseases that have developed as a result of improper nutrition. Parents of children suffering from anorexia or bulimia should broaden their knowledge about eating disorders because many people do not understand what such diseases are. For example, it is a mistake to believe that the only reason for anorexia is to strive for a perfect appearance. In fact, the causes of this condition are more complex, and the risk of anorexia affects not only girls.
To sum up, obsessive slimming of teens is a problem that parents cannot cope on their own. Taking careless actions, especially shouting at the child, can make things even worse. If you notice disturbing symptoms, it is better to seek professional help.