Child Eating Disorder

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are also called eating disorders. Eating disorders are important to recognize that each factor plays a role in predisposing, eliminating, or perpetuating the problem. Anorexia nervosa compulsive eating are the most common among such young children, but there have been cases of bulimia reported. It usually begins at the age of fourteen or fifteen, with another peak in incidence among 18-year-olds. It is estimated that 40% of nine-year-olds have already died, and we are beginning to see how four- and five-year-olds express the need for nutrition. It is a shame that such young children are robbed of their childhood. Children who grew up in a dysfunctional family are at higher risk of developing an eating disorder. In a home where physical or abusive people take place, the child can turn to an eating disorder to gain a sense of control.

Types of Eating Disorders

Children can also develop eating disorders to deal with the many emotions they experience, especially if they are raised in a house that does not allow feelings to be expressed. Children who are compulsive eaters typically use food to help them deal with feelings of anger, sadness, injury, loneliness, abandonment, fear, and pain. There are many serious complications from anorexia, including fainting from low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, intolerance to cold, constipation, decreased energy, mood changes, anemia, kidney failure, and osteoporosis (brittle bones).

Children are at risk of developing an eating disorder if the parents themselves are concerned with their appearance and weight. Eating disorder risk factors include cleansing behavior (vomiting or using diuretics (water pills) or laxatives to lose weight). Restrictive eating habits, which may result in you not being able to gain weight or being underweight, and include skipping meals, fasting, or eliminating entire food groups. Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycles) or delayed onset of puberty and menarche.

Parents may suspect a problem first when they discover that there is a large amount of food missing in the pantry or refrigerator, although it is hard to imagine that a child could have eaten so much. Mothers with eating disorders may have difficulty feeding their infants and young children and will continue to affect the child. The family environment will often be less cohesive, more conflict-ridden and less supportive. People with bulimia can be anywhere from underweight to normal weight to overweight. It is estimated that up to 3% of college-age women have bulimia. Other signs found in teenagers with eating disorders include dry and brittle hair, hair loss, and with muscle loss.

Anorexia Nervosa in Children

Treating eating disorders is slow and difficult (and sometimes requires hospitalization) and should be monitored by mental health. Movement is also an important part of everyone’s life, and we need to help our children engage in physical activity. Anorexia patients also need nutritional and medical interventions to become dietary. Don’t criticize your own or your child’s weight, shape or size.  For example, family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy teach people techniques to monitor and change their eating habits and how they respond to stress. Family therapy includes the whole family to help the individual. Cognitive-behavioral therapy combines the approach of helping the individual change their self-destructive thoughts with a change in their behavior. Counseling also helps patients consider relationships with others and helps them work in areas that frighten them. Weight control programs are helpful for some people who are affected by binge eating. Medical treatment for bulimia has focused on antidepressants, particularly Fluoxetine Free Reprint articles, which have been found to reduce binge eating and vomiting for approximately two thirds of bulimic patients.