The term disordered eating describes a range of irregular food and eating behaviors that may not fit the symptoms of a specific eating disorder, such as anorexia. However, they may still require support from a disordered eating treatment program.
Eating disorders are diagnosed through somewhat narrow criteria that exclude most of those suffering from disordered eating. Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery at 866.300.5275 for information about our disordered eating treatment program for teens and adolescents.
Eating Disorder vs. Disordered Eating
Not all people who have problematic behaviors around food and eating fit the diagnosis for a specific eating disorder. Disordered eating describes a pattern or habit, not a diagnosis or disorder. It can be confusing for parents and teens to understand because some symptoms of disordered eating may be the same as symptoms of a specific eating disorder. It is also possible to be diagnosed with an eating disorder and have disordered eating patterns separate from the diagnosis. The critical thing to remember about disordered eating is that your teen doesn’t need to have a specific diagnosis in order to find the help they need.
What Are Some Symptoms of Disordered Eating?
All eating concerns should be taken seriously. Displaying symptoms of disordered eating makes your teen more vulnerable to developing a full-blown eating disorder and risks their health.
What are some symptoms of disordered eating? These may include the following:
- Chronic weight fluctuations
- Anxiety associated with foods
- Feeling guilt or shame about eating
- Strict routines and rituals around food and exercise
- Preoccupation with weight, food, and body image
- Compulsive or excessive exercise
- Restricting food, purging, or fasting
Symptoms of disordered eating can be difficult to detect because eating patterns may not seem severe. Alternatively, teens may not display the habits that are commonly associated with eating disorders, such as purging after meals.
However, someone who exhibits symptoms of disordered eating may also be experiencing high levels of emotional, mental, and physical stress for which they need professional intervention to cope. In such cases, it is often necessary to find a teen disordered eating treatment program, which will give teens the tools they need to heal.
Health Risks of Disordered Eating
Many teens do not recognize disordered eating habits as a problem. They may be mimicking the behavior of friends or family members without realizing the potential health risks.
In some cases, disordered eating gives teens a sense of control they do not feel in other areas of life. With this motivation, they may choose to continue their behavior even if they know the risks.
Health risks of disordered eating include:
- Low heart rate or blood pressure
- Greater risk of obesity and a higher potential for developing eating disorders
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Fluid and electrolyte imbalances
- Bone loss
- Social isolation
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential for teens. As they continue to grow and develop, teenagers who don’t eat a well-balanced diet are at higher risk for health problems that can affect them all through life. Their diets can affect their physical health and their mental and emotional health.
Find Help for Disordered Eating at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery provides a variety of therapy services for adolescents and teens, including eating disorder treatment programs. At Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, your child’s treatment team includes a registered nutritionist and supportive, compassionate mental health professionals.
The sooner your teen receives treatment for disordered eating, the better their chances of restoring their health completely and avoiding developing an eating disorder. Call Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today at 866.300.5275 for more information about our disordered eating treatment programs.