Bulimia is another very common condition with many young people. What exactly is bulimia and what can you do as a parent to help your child? Bulimia is an eating disorder in which the person makes themselves throw up to rid themselves of food/calories. Bulimia is a psychological eating disorder.
Bulimics may go through a severe binge/purge cycle that is very devastating to the body. They may hide or hoard food and overeat when stressed or worried or upset. The bulimic may feel a loss of control during a binge and consume very large quantities of food 9over 20,000 calories). They will then feel bad or dirty for consuming the food and will feel literally sick and have a strong need to purge themselves of the food and the bad feelings. This is when they will purge.
Signs of Bulimia
Bulimia is sometimes more tricky than anorexia to spot because the bulimic typically maintains a normal body weight. In fact, sometimes they may even be a couple of pounds overweight. Signs include:
- Worry over weight
- Obsession with food/calories and calorie count
- Hiding food
- Other means of weight loss (abuse of laxatives, diet pills, etc)
- Signs of vomiting
- Marks on hand from teeth (from forced vomiting)
- Mood changes
How to Help
If you suspect that your teen has bulimia or another eating disorder, it is very important that you get professional help. You can not just tell your teen to stop the behavior and expect that to work. Bulimia is a medical condition and should be treated as such.
You should learn as much as possible about the disease so that you can help your child. You might even join some support groups for parents of teens with eating disorders and related conditions so you can understand your child, ask questions from other people who have been there and learn how to really help.
Don’t be afraid to ask your teen’s doctor or therapist questions. Knowledge is the best way for you to help your teen. You also need to learn how to talk to your teen and keep the lines of communication open so that your child can talk to you about her feelings or if she feels like a binge or purge. You can not help if you are not open and understanding. You can not ever be accusing about the situation or you will likely make it worse.