Adolescent Eating Disorder Patients

adolescent girls

The adolescent years are full of changes: bodily, hormonally, emotionally — you name it, it’s probably changing in your child. It can be difficult to know what’s what with your tween or teen. Is it a phase, is it a quirk, or is it an issue that needs to be addressed?

These constant changes can make it hard to notice the signs of eating disorders in adolescence. What seems like a new appreciation for health food could be the beginning of disordered eating. What looks like a new clothing style could be an attempt to hide weight loss or other bodily changes.

So what are the signs of eating disorders in adolescents, and how can you know when your child needs help?

Fight, Flight, or Fawning

woman people pleasing

Chances are, you’re familiar with the fight, flight, or freeze responses to trauma.

We’ve all heard about the frenzied mother lifting a 3,000-pound car to save her child. Maybe we’ve noticed how we’ll automatically jump away from a snake while walking in the woods. Or feel that immediate spike of adrenaline when you may or may not be going the speed limit and see a police car.

The fourth type of trauma response that might not immediately spring to mind, however, is fawning.

Do You Expect Too Much of Yourself?


For people like us, the drive for personal excellence often eclipses reality, and we begin to wonder, Are my expectations too high? Am I being reasonable? Expecting too much of yourself is a trap that any of us can fall into if we’re not careful. Furthermore, it affects everything from our relationships to professional lives, and even our appearance.

Petting the Tiger: How to Stay “Recovered” From an Eating Disorder

Petting the Tiger: How to Stay “Recovered” From an Eating Disorder - Meadows Ranch

To heal, those of us with eating disorders must seek balance. This means that, unlike my friend who is “in recovery” maintaining abstinence from alcohol — tiger in its cage — we are “recovered,” maintaining a relationship with that which used to control us. So we must pet the tiger.