Life for teenage girls is not always easy. Peer and societal pressures can make teen girls feel pressure to stay as thin as possible. Some girls feel this pressure so acutely that stop eating most foods and develop the disorder anorexia nervosa, while some others pretend to eat and induce vomiting after they eat so they don't gain weight, a condition called bulimia. These disorders can have serious, life-threatening consequences, but if you're a parent, it's easy to be unaware of what's happening for a long time. If you know your daughter is consumed by her weight and the following situations seem familiar, you may need to get her help.
She Seems to Dislike You Much More Than Usual
Many find nothing unusual about a teen girl getting irritated with or angry at her parents every now and then. However, if there have been drastic changes in how she interacts with you and she has been dropping weight, days of pouting or a screaming fit might indicate something sinister. If she's no longer receiving proper amounts of minerals and vitamins, deficiencies could develop and affect her mood and personality negatively.
She Always Visits the Bathroom After Meals
Bulimia can be tricky to spot, as someone with this disorder will seem to enjoy any meal or snack with as much gusto as others before excusing themselves to a restroom to vomit. Teenage girls can seem to spend a lot of their time in bathrooms anyway, but if your daughter makes a bathroom stop every time she eats and is steadily becoming thinner, she may have a serious problem.
She Visits Websites that Mention Specific Girl Names
For all you know, Mia and Ana could be the name of the newest popular teen singers or characters on a TV show. However, for those with eating disorders, "pro-Mia" and "pro-Ana" refer to bulimia and anorexia. There are many sites that reference those phrases; some offer tips for avoiding detection and praise for the lifestyle, but some of the sites offer assistance for those who want to stop acting that way. If your daughter is searching for those phrases or you see the words in passing, it might be time for a discussion.
Her Teeth Don't Look Good
Bulimia and anorexia can both affect dental health. Vitamin deficiencies from anorexic behavior could mean that teeth and gums aren't getting what they need to remain healthy, and throwing up regularly because of bulimia can allow stomach acid to disturb tooth enamel. Oral trouble in addition to other signs could point right to an eating disorder in some cases.
Get your teen daughter professional assistance if she seems to be repeatedly showing the above signs. There are existing treatment plans for all kinds of eating disorders, so discuss your daughter's health with medical professionals to find a suitable one for her.
Contact a company like Center for Change Eating Disorder Treatments for more information and assistance.