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What are the eating disorder warning signs I should be looking out for in my daughter?

There are many different types of eating disorders but anorexia and bulimia are by far the most common amongst young girls

Both conditions can be effectively treated but it’s vitally important to address the problem as early as possible. The longer the illness continues the harder it becomes to beat. With this in mind, the six main symptoms of an eating disorder are as follows:

Weight loss
The most obvious warning sign of an eating disorder is loss of weight. If your daughter loses weight rapidly or looks unhealthily thin, there is a strong possibility that she has a problem. However, it’s important to remember that not all eating disorders will cause this abnormal weight loss. For example, women with bulimia will usually maintain their weight despite the constant binging and purging.

Refusal to eat with the family
Anorexics and bulimics will often want to hide their eating habits from their family. And the best way to do this is to avoid eating at the dinner table or in the same room.

Eating less than usual
Another warning sign of an eating disorder is when a girl begins eating much less than she used to. She may also become increasing fussy about what type of foods she eats.

Trips to the bathroom immediately after meals
The fundamental aspect of bulimia is making oneself throw up after eating. If you notice your daughter constantly goes straight to the bathroom immediately after eating, you should investigate further. Try to listen at the bathroom door for any vomiting sounds. Many bulimics will turn on both taps to muffle the sound of their purging.

Aggression when the subject is approached
Girls with eating disorders will typically become defensive and often aggressive if the subject of their weight loss or eating habits is approached. Remember, if they have nothing to hide there would be no reason for such a reaction.

Hiding laxatives or food
Bulimics will generally eat huge quantities of foods before making themselves sick. They will often hide this food to consume in private. Similarly, girls with eating disorders will often hide large quantities of laxatives and use them to try to lose more weight. If you find hidden stashes of food or laxatives it's a strong sign that your daughter may have a problem.

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