A fully-blown eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, often has clear-cut signs. But what happens when there are issues that do not quite qualify? Enter “disordered eating”. While many symptoms of disordered eating match habits seen with eating disorders, disordered eating is typically more mild and encompasses a wider range of potential eating and body image problems.
Normal vs Disordered Eating
Although disordered eating seems like it’s not as serious as eating disorders, in reality, it could be just as damaging – especially if left untreated. Research suggests that while only 1-3% of people struggle with an eating disorder, up to 50% have some sort of problematic relationship with food.
Recognizing the problem is the first step on the road to recovery. Disordered eating is typically marked by abnormal eating patterns. Some potential behaviors include: obsession with counting calories, following a very rigid diet and exercise pattern, only eating at certain times, stressing about food, basing self-image entirely on body shape, and constantly feeling overweight even if within a healthy weight range.
The dangers of this issue are on par with any other mental illness, including anxiety or even diagnosed eating disorders. Disordered eating causes food to become the center of attention – with feelings of guilt arising from not keeping to the strict diet or exercise regime. Chronic yo-yo dieting and food restriction are commonly caused by disordered eating.
A Return to Normalcy
As a parent, there are several steps to take to help your child’s disordered eating. It is important to be open for communication – if your child approaches you with concerns about their body image, do not wait for the problem to get out of hand. Help your child build self-esteem not based on outward appearances. It may also help to monitor their routine – while having some patterns can be healthy, a complete lack of flexibility is not.
If your child’s disordered eating habits aren’t getting any better, it may be time to consider professional help.
blueFire Wilderness Can Help
blueFire Wilderness Therapy can help your teen find the success they deserve. Our wilderness therapy program can help your teen work through the underlying issues causing these distressing patterns.
For more information about blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!