According to statistics, 1 to 2 in every 100 female teens are struggling with anorexia nervosa, and up to 20 percent of them succumb to conditions related to the eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extremely low body weight brought on by irrational fear of weight gain and body image distortion. Teens with anorexia tend to express guilt over eating too much, abuse laxatives, skip meals or consume very limited portions, induce vomiting after eating, and exhibit signs of dehydration and malnutrition, such as fatigue, hair loss, and insomnia, among others.
If you are concerned that your teen daughter may have anorexia, here are a few tips to help you and her tackle the problem together.
1.) Find a good timing and approach.
Tell your daughter you’d like to talk to her about something important. Even if she doesn’t respond positively, still make the conversation happen. Make it clear that it’s nothing she did wrong, and that she isn’t in any kind of trouble. Find a time when both of you are available, and pick a place that is relaxed, quiet, and private.
2.) Capture your daughter’s heart.
Once you’ve finally held your teen daughter’s interest, grab this opportunity to discuss and dispel what she may have learned from the media, which can put across false or exaggerated messages about body image and what is deemed socially acceptable. It also helps to educate your daughter about how too much dieting can affect her appearance, energy level, and overall health as well as to encourage her to eat when she is hungry.
Foster self-esteem in your daughter by pointing out and focusing on her positive attributes. Moreover, keep in mind that eating disorders are essentially coping mechanisms, which people often resort to in the face of trauma or stress to manage difficult emotions. It helps to develop a relationship that encourages your teen to open up about her feelings by using language that is consistently supportive and non-judgmental. As with anything else, communication is key, and giving your daughter constant assurance that she will never be judged is central to ensuring her recovery.
3.) Have her see her pediatrician.
To optimize your strategies, consult your pediatrician— your partner and advisor in your child’s health care.
Your pediatrician will do a thorough physical and psychological evaluation to confirm a diagnosis. They may also coordinate your teen’s care with nutrition and mental health care specialists to ensure the best treatment outcome.
Adolescent Mental Health Care in Purchase, NY
Don’t allow your teen to tread such a destructive path—visit us at Westchester Park Pediatrics. Our adolescent mental healthcare services are a reflection of our unwavering dedication to providing comprehensive care and support for pediatric patients in Purchase and all of its neighboring communities.
We offer behavior therapy to help your teen establish wholesome coping mechanisms and a positive relationship with food. We will work closely with you and your child and, together, we can lay a solid groundwork for her to thrive physically, mentally, socially, and academically.
To learn more about our adolescent mental health services or to arrange a consultation with one of our pediatricians, contact us at (914) 761-1717.