lack or loss of appetite for food (as a medical condition).
an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat.
noun: anorexia nervosa
Recently I was confronted with the alarming fact that my fifteen-year-old son might be suffering from an eating disorder or worse a mental health issue.
While I've never been concerned with his eating habits of the past, I have been aware of his increased seclusion from the outside world mainly due to playing on-line computer games which I likened to being "normal" teenage activity.
His changes in appearance I've put down to growing-up and puberty. He's got tall for fifteen, he has body hair that perhaps far exceeds many others of his friends the same age, he likes his own space; his privacy. His appetite has decreased, not a little, but a lot. His moods swing from being talkative to the verge of becoming a recluse. He doesn't share his thoughts, feelings, ambitions, in fact he doesn't have any ambitions now or for the future, another sign I thought would change over time as he matures. His self-esteem is low, he tells me he hates his body, but he's always been self-conscious. He says his quads are too big, but they are skin and bone and I can't understand where on earth he would get the idea they are otherwise.
It wasn't until I sat beside him at the dinner table and noticed him struggling to consume 1 meat pie with chips and eggs, that I asked him what was wrong.
He pats his stomach suggesting he's full while an entire meat pie sits untouched in front of him. I make a joke you'll become anorexic, he replies,
It's a shock, an instant hit of reality and I would be lying if I said the condition anorexia had never crossed my mind before now.
Have I been naive to think these changes he's been displaying are normal; acceptable?
I'm worried sick; I google 'Anorexia,' and I'm still not convinced this is what he might be heading for even though some signs point to early diagnosis. I'm not in denial, or am I?
I don't want to believe this could be reality, that this is affecting my son who always had such a healthy appetite as he was growing up.
I open pages of Strictly Parenting written by Michael Carr-Gregg, Australia's leading parenting expert. I read the section on anorexia which predominately points to adolescent girls.
I visit websites and take particular note of physical signs, and now it starting to become more clear and make sense of ailments he's displaying, but I had never associated with an eating disorder.
Yes, he feels tired, but isn't that because he plays on his X-box so much?
Yes, he never has any energy and is often lethargic, his facial features have changed, his skin pale and pasty, his eyes sunken with dark circles, he has vomited on occasions following dinner, putting it down to eating too much. He has no muscle, he is skin and bone with no definition.
So now there is a real chance my son maybe suffering from not just an eating disorder but much more. Resources will now become my valuable friend, my source to determine if or when I might need to get my son professional help.
I've listed below some resources I've found in a short time and still reading through.
National Eating Disorders Collaboration
Anorexia Nervosa | Eating Disorders Victoria
Anorexia nervosa | Better Health Channel