Sarah Blake, Social Worker and Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, offers insight on what factors may cause eating disorders, and associated with signs and symptoms.
Eating disorders can develop for a number of reasons, and loved ones should be watchful for the signs that may lead to a family member developing such a condition.
Although the physical signs of having an eating disorder may vary depending on which condition your child or family member may have, here are some potential characteristics, or historical personal issues, that may lead to the development of an eating disorder:
• Troubled family and personal relationships
• Difficulty expressing emotions and feelings
• History of being teased or ridiculed based on size or weight
• Low self-esteem
• Feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life
• Depression, anxiety, anger or loneliness
It’s important to note, that while all of these signs should be closely monitored, there’s no exact recipe that dictates which specific factors may lead to an eating disorder. The more we can do to build awareness of the causes and risks, the better.
The following are tips for parents to help prevent eating disorders among their children:
• While it is wonderful to praise your child, it sends a mixed message when you tell them they are beautiful and then negatively critique your own body in front of them
• Do not allow family members to tease one another or those outside the family about body size, shape or appearance
• Encourage and engage in healthy eating
• Educate your children about the media images they see, and teach them to be informed consumers
Most importantly, get help and support for yourself and if necessary, for your child and/or family. Getting into a treatment program at an early stage of the disorder, increases ones chances of a positive experience in the recovery process.
Please call the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt at 410-938-5252 to speak with someone in confidence.