This blog post discusses information regarding eating disorders and may be sensitive to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.

Parents should learn to recognize the early signs of eating disorders in children and teens. Many teenagers can succumb to disordered eating, and when they do, their behavior or patterns may dramatically or subtly shift. Here are six signals that can indicate a young person is suffering from one of these medical conditions.

Disordered Eating WFMC Health

1. Meals

If your adolescent finds ways to avoid meals constantly, it might be something to take note of. Teens with anorexia often go to great lengths to avoid food. Some typical excuses are that they have already eaten with their friends or had a big lunch at school. They might tell you they will grab some food later and jet out the door.

2. Dieting

If your child seems to be constantly trying a new diet or hitting a crash diet, it could be another signal. Fasting and lengthy diets are unhealthy tools people with eating conditions use. If they tell you they are on a water diet or fasting for days, it should be cause for concern.

3. Exercise

A little exercise is great, but when someone takes training to extreme measures, they could be trying to alter their body radically. Some teens will jog for hours or do other fat-burning exercises several times a day, and they will get upset if they miss a workout or are forced to quit early.

4. Quickly Leaving the Table

People dealing with bulimia will initially eat food, but later force themselves to throw it up. They also might try using laxatives or enemas to quickly move the food out of their body. A person suffering from bulimia may eat a regular meal or overeat. Right after consuming the food, they will want to get it out of their system, so they will quickly leave the table.

5. Face

When anyone repeatedly forces themselves to vomit, their salivary glands can become inflamed, and they will have puffy cheeks and dry skin from dehydration. They may develop dark circles under the eyes also.

6. Clothing

Teens may wear loose clothing or multiple layers to hide weight loss. If a person’s clothes start to look baggy or oddly bulky, it may be time to take notice of their other habits.

Today, specialists have developed treatments geared toward teenagers that tackle eating disorders from their point of view. It is vital for parents who suspect their child might suffer from disordered eating to seek professional help.