Can a child have anorexia

Anorexia In Children: How To Identify Anorexia In Children

What actually is anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder that affects those affectedhave a disturbed relationship with food and with their own body.

What are typical behaviors for anorexia?

Among other things, anorexia is characterized by distorted body perception, severe weight loss and deficiency symptoms such as circulatory problems.

Lose more and more weight, refuse to eat and the constant fear of gaining weight - in many cases these signs are an eating disorder. Children and adolescents are primarily affected by anorexia.

In our guide we would like to give you information on the subject of anorexia in children. We show you various eating disorders and explain how you can recognize the disease in your child. In addition, we will explain the consequences and the various treatment options to you.

Table of Contents

1. Eating disorders in children and adolescents are not uncommon

Keep an eye on the weight

If you are unsure to what extent your child's weight is normal, you should take a look at a weight table or use a BMI calculator.

Eating disorders is a condition that affects those affected have a disturbed relationship with food and with their own body. Such disorders can develop as early as infancy. Often the children are very picky or even refuse whole meals.

According to statistics from the Federal Center for Health Education Around a fifth of children and adolescents in Germany show symptoms of an eating disorder. It is noticeable that significantly more girls than boys are affected.

Danger: Eating disorders are not something to be proud of! Rather, they are a serious disease that in the worst case scenario, it can even be fatal.

2. A distinction is made between different forms of eating disorders

With bulimia and binge eating, those affected suffer from uncontrolled binge eating.

A common distinction is made between eating disorders Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. All three diseases are serious eating disorders and they must be treated as soon as possible before physical health and psyche suffer even more.

While anorexia can lead to a complete refusal to eat, one extreme bulimia different. Affected people suffer from binge eatingresulting in a loss of control over the type and amount of food. Subsequentlythe food is excreted in an unnatural way, such as breaking it or purging it with laxatives.

Also at Binge eating it is an eating disorder, only it does not go with weight loss, it goes with one severe weight gain hand in hand. As with bulimia, those affected suffer uncontrolled food cravings. The food is not removed again. It is more likely to turn out strong feelings of guilt and those affected suffer increasingly from obesity.

3. Anorexia is primarily a mental illness

Children and adolescents who suffer from anorexia are not physically but mentally ill.

In the case of anorexia, medically called anorexia nervosa, it is first and foremost a mental illness that can have various causes. It is particularly common in very young girls. Using the medical term, which translates as "nervous loss of appetite", it is easy to determine that it is not a physical illness.

Children affected by anorexia want to keep reducing their body weight because they do not feel comfortable in their body. Even though the bones are already sticking out and no fat is visible, they are convinced that they are thick.

The disease is like an addictionwhere those affected put their discipline and ambition above their needs.

The causes of anorexia are very diverse. Usually several factors come together. Although genetic aspects also play a role, it is mainly mental disorders that lead to the desire for control.

In addition, of course, there is also the western ideal of beauty. According to this, beautiful women are slim in the first place. Therefore, anorexia is much less common in boys.

Anorexic people tend to have very low self-esteem. This means that difficult living conditions and family problems are even more serious, so that support and control are sought in anorexia.

4. Typical behaviors occur in anorexia

A distorted perception of one's own body is a typical characteristic of anorexia.

Many families and parents wonder how to recognize anorexia in their child. Hence we have below the most common anorexia symptoms put together for you:

  • Severe weight loss or underweight
  • Distorted body awareness
  • Constant weight control
  • Eating slowly, avoiding whole meals
  • Constantly increasing compulsion to eat little and do a lot of sport
  • Deficiency symptoms that manifest themselves in physical symptoms such as circulatory problems or cardiac arrhythmias
  • Hormonal changes, such as the absence of menstrual bleeding
  • Other psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder

If you or your family recognize these symptoms in your child, it is imperative that you seek help. It is important that you do not force or blame your child to eat. It is better to find the conversation and ask how your child is doing and how much you can help.

5. Get treatment for anorexia in children in an eating disorder clinic

In most cases it is necessary to have the anorexia treated as an inpatient in a special clinic.

Basically, parents should seek help with any type of eating disorder. The first point of contact in this case can be the family doctor. He will then conduct an anamnesis to find out the previous history and clarify any complaints.

This is followed by both a physical and a psychological examination. The doctor looks at which area of ​​the weight table your child is in. In the field of psychological examination there are among other things Questionnaires to record the degree of the disease.

Anorexia therapy rarely takes place on an outpatient basis. That's because many Children are so light that their health is threatening. Therefore, the first step in the treatment of anorexia is to normalize the weight by changing eating habits. This is followed by many therapies and discussions that will help your child to perceive their body normally again.

The clinic regularly checks whether and to what extent the children and adolescents are gaining weight. If the set goals are not achieved several times, the patients have to leave the clinic. The only exceptions are cases in which there is an acute danger to life.

6. Anorexia in children can, in the worst case, run through life

About a third of those affected will suffer from an eating disorder their entire life.

Unfortunately, there are always those affected who do not understand the seriousness of their illness and are therefore not prepared to change anything in their behavior. It is estimated that a third of patients will have lifelong eating problems. Some even develop more eating disorders over time.

The prognosis for complete healing depends heavily on weight and mental state. The consequences of anorexia can also be very different. While some children have little problem with long-term effects, others have bad kidneys or brittle bones.

Parents and relatives are also advised to seek out self-help groups or advice centers. There are plenty valuable tips on how to deal with this condition. You can also exchange ideas with other affected persons there.

7. A guide for parents of children with eating disorders

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Anorexia In Children: How To Identify Anorexia In Children
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