Eating Disorder Warning Signs to Watch for When Students Return to School
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – The children of the Tennessee Valley are back in school. Back to school means new classes and new schedules.
Although a new beginning can be exciting, all these changes can also cause stress, anxiety and doubts. Studies show that for some, it can trigger an eating disorder.
Eating disorders have the second highest death rate of any mental illness. It is important to know that they can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes and weights.
There are ways for teachers, coaches and peers to identify and support students struggling with an eating disorder.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, warning signs vary among eating disorders and don’t always fit into well-defined categories. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Changes in attitudes or performance at school
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Extreme preoccupation with body size and shape
- Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals
Eating disorders can develop and reappear at any age. Specialists report an increase in the number of diagnoses of children, some as young as five or six years old.
Mary Elizabeth Akinaka, Certified Professional Counselor at Alsana, would like to remind you that eating disorders can be treated and recovery is possible.
“It’s best to get help as soon as you have the warning signs. Early intervention demonstrates the possibility of a greater possibility of true lasting recovery. Relapse occurs in the recovery process. Recovery is not a linear process,” she said.
Parents and teachers, remember that eating disorders are not a choice. It is important that people with eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors seek professional advice.
For more information and resources on eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders website.
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