If you are like many parents, then you likely know about a few of the most commonly discussed eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, and keep a close eye on your children to ensure they are not developing unhealthy eating habits. However, you may not realize that many more eating disorders have been discovered by psychologists, and many are relatively unknown by the general public.
Read on to learn about two little-known eating disorders what to do if you suspect that one of your children is suffering from one of these eating disorders.
If one of your children was born with type I diabetes, then you likely took care to administer their insulin shots carefully when needed as they grew up. However, if your child is now a pre-teen or teenager, then you likely remind them to use their insulin at appropriate times, but may not watch them carefully every time they use it.
As a parent, you need to know that some type I diabetics eager to lose weight are now skipping their insulin shots altogether or injecting less than their full scheduled doses. This leads to weight loss, but the weight loss can come with serious consequences, such as diabetic ketoacidosis, liver disease, and even death.
When type I diabetics skip their insulin to control their weight, they suffer from an eating disorder called diabulimia. This condition is believed to affect as many as one-third of all young women who suffer from type 1 diabetes.
The most common signs of this eating disorder include an A1C level of 9 or higher with no medical explanation, electrolyte imbalances, cravings for more sugar-filled foods, and of course, weight loss.
2. Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
There is a common misconception that all eating disorders stem from a desire to lose weight. Many do not stem from a desire to lose weight at all, including one called Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or AFRID. People suffering from AFRID may or may not lose weight (even though they are not trying to), but they often develop nutritional deficiencies that can lead to serious health consequences.
People suffering from AFRID often avoid certain food groups or greatly restrict the types of foods they eat altogether due to no medical reason. However, they may also avoid foods based on their smell, texture, color, or even temperature. Some sufferers of AFRID will only drink nutritional supplements.
If you suspect that your child or teenager is suffering from an eating disorder, then the first step is to speak to them about your curiosity and begin checking for the signs and symptoms of one. Since eating disorders can be so difficult to treat, it is important to reach out to an inpatient eating disorder treatment facility to seek the help your child or teenager needs to battle their disorder if you do suspect they have one.
Contact a local inpatient eating disorder treatment center for more information and assistance.