There are a number of different sorts of eating disorder.

Some young people may restrict the amount of calories they will allow themselves to eat in one day.

Other young people will only allow themselves to eat once they have exercised.

For some, period of overeating, called a binge, may be followed by self induced vomiting and other purging behaviours.

Another group of children may struggle with the texture and sensations of food and this will lead to different reasons to restrict their dietary intake.

When to seek help

  • sudden or rapid change in weight
  • believe they are overweight when they are not
  • you think they may be making themselves vomit after meals (perhaps spending a long time in the bathroom) 
  • reluctant to leave the house because of how they feel about their appearance
  • throwing their meals away or insist on eating alone so they can miss things out
  • young person is exercising a great deal, perhaps getting up in the night to exercise for example
  • counting calories, studying food labels, avoiding certain 'fear foods'

Physical health can become rapidly compromised by these behaviours

Prompt intervention is needed, with assessment and ongoing close supervision by family, guided by therapists and psychiatry in order to prevent deterioration.

These difficulties need to be taken seriously. 

Seeking help for an eating disorder can be a very difficult thing to do as a family. Often parents worry that they will cause a deterioration in an already fragile young person.

Please do you seek urgent medical care from your GP if you are in anyway concerned about your child's health and seek an assessment as soon as possible in order to reach the best long term outcomes.

Treatment varies with each case but usually involves family therapy, emotion recognition work, dietician support, anxiety management and sometimes medication is required.


More useful information can be found here Royal College of Psychiatrists Eating concerns leaflet

Parent and carers leaflet - Eating disorders

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