Eating Disorder

What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are unhealthy eating patterns during childhood. They’re more common in young children than most people think. Eating disorders can involve a child of any age or gender.

Eating disorders can affect children physically and mentally and can create a lot of stress for families.

American Wellness Center in Dubai Healthcare City has a lot of experience and expertise when it comes to curing and fixing Eating Disorders.

What are the early signs of an Eating Disorder in Children?

Early detection and prevention is key to treat eating disorders in young children. The signs are often subtle, as your child does not have to be focused on body image or weight to have an eating disorder. Children may not meet the full eating disorder criteria.

Early warning signs can include:
  • fear of stomach aches
  • aversion to tastes or textures
  • tantrums at the mealtime
  • excessive bowel movements
  • worry about body image
Signs of severe eating disorder can include:
  • refraining from eating
  • reducing food portions
  • weight loss
  • lack of growth
  • thinning of hair
  • delay of puberty
  • constipation or digestion problems
  • hiding or hoarding food
  • mood swings
  • fine hair growth on the body

Common Types of Eating Disorders in Children

  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRID) is a common eating disorder experienced by young children. Children with AFRID experience a disturbance in their eating which can include a lack of interest in food or a sensory aversion to certain foods. For example, a child might be aversive to swallowing or the texture of foods they once enjoyed. They might also fear getting stomach aches or vomiting if they become sick because of a certain food. These aversions and restrictions can lead to weight loss and nutritional deficiency among young children.
  • Pica is a type of condition where a child might eat non-food or non-nutritional substances persistently. To be diagnosed with pica, the behavior must fall outside of the child’s expected developmental level (i.e. an infant who chews on objects would not qualify). These substances often include dirt, soap, chalk, sand, ice, and hair.
  • Anorexia nervosa can affect both young girls and boys. Children with anorexia think they are overweight when they are very underweight in reality. Children might obsess about their food intake and with how to control their weight. They might exercise intensively or binge and then purge. Anorexia can cause significant damage to physical health and growth, so it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible for a child and or adolescent.

Treating Eating Disorders in Young Children

There are many aspects of treating eating disorders among young children. Regaining weight is an essential component so that the child’s physical and nutritional health is restored. As parents and caretakers play a significant role in the child’s life, family-based intervention and treatment is usually recommended. Parents often blame themselves for the child’s eating disorder, so when parents can become more confident and empowered to help their child, the outcome is much better. Children may also benefit from behavioral interventions to help offer them foods they avoid and to help them regain a healthy eating habits.

If you are the parent of a child with an eating disorder, it’s important to reach out to your child’s pediatrician, nutritionist, or mental health professionals to help you feel supported and get the best care for your child. Encouraging healthy relationship with food will benefit your child’s entire life. So even if you are uncertain whether there may be a problem, it is always worthwhile to reach out to professionals. Whom you can talk today to get help for your child? AWC Dubai Healthcare City is one of the best clinics in Dubai to reach out to.

How do we work?

Treatment can help you and your child feel better in many ways. Our specialized treatment programs can have many benefits such as:

    • Reduce stress around meals, travel or social situations
    • Reduce your child’s anxiety
    • Improve your child’s body image (if that’s a problem)
    • Make sure your child gets the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development
    • Improve your child’s energy, mood and ability to focus
    • Prevent or treat serious health problems that eating disorders can cause (like heart or kidney damage).

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