Anorexia is anywhere from three times to 10 times more common in females than males. [http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cpsp-pcsp03/page6-eng.php] It also afflicts teens much more often than older individuals. [http://www.disordered-eating.co.uk/eating-disorders-statistics/anorexia-nervosa-statistics-uk.html]
So, it's especially important for parents of teen girls to be vigilant. Fortunately, there are many, many ways you can get eating disorder help for your child.
Take charge? Over an alienated, rebellious teenager? Any parent reading that will laugh, as if it were being suggested you should lift a building. Every parent knows that it can appear impossible to move a troubled teen, especially one with an eating disorder.
True. Still, many teens want help without their parents knowing it. The clues may be subtle, but they're there. One way to amplify them is to listen, very carefully, even when we're busy or the topic seems mundane.
"I feel fat" repeated often is an obvious sign. But, overhearing a phone conversation with a friend in which the teen says, "I was teased today about my big butt," may be a clue. That's especially true when the remark is followed by days or weeks of refusing food she formerly liked.
Many times, parents researching eating disorders will read something like: "don't judge your child." That statement is misleading at best. You have to judge, in the neutral sense of that term. You are responsible, legally and morally, for aiding them to develop in healthy ways.
What that statement is really trying to say is: "don't condemn" and that is definitely good advice.
Individuals with anorexia and bulimia are being self-destructive, and that behavior is (largely) chosen. But it's not chosen casually or without thought of consequences, as some drug or alcohol use is. It's chosen out of shame, frustration, and misperceptions about body image.
That the behavior is voluntary is, in fact, also a benefit. Anything chosen can be changed, by making a different choice. Condemnation won't help your child achieve a different relationship to food, to you, or to others. Wise concern can.
You can implement that wise concern by seeking out the best eating disorder help available in your area. Fortunately, there are many sources, more than you might suspect at first.
Local clinics in any medium to large city have seen just about everything, including many cases of eating disorder. Research programs at local universities often center around anorexia, bulimia, and related conditions. Private clinics that specialize in treating eating disorders abound.
A Google search will show you what's available nearby. Try typing "eating disorder help" and you'll see that some of the results are tailored to focus on your locale.
Calling a local clinic or therapist takes only a minute. Asking probing questions about the approach and details of eating disorder treatment takes only a few more. A few such phone calls or emails and you will quickly gather information you can evaluate just with common sense.
Eating disorder help for your child is available to you in many forms. It's affordable and treatments do work. Overcome that natural feeling that nothing will change your teen and seek them out. You can help your child help herself.