12 Signs To Detect An Eating Disorder During School Years

Signs to detect an eating disorder

Eating Disorders (ED) are characterized by pathological behavior regarding food intake and an obsession with weight control

Metaphorically we could describe them as a tree; The crown of the tree and the trunk would be the symptoms, what we can see from the outside through behavior and behaviors: obsession with weight, food restriction, exaggerated physical exercise, purging, overeating, etc.

The invisible part, the roots, are the unmanaged or unexpressed feelings and emotions and also the beliefs and thoughts about oneself and what surrounds one. It is precisely what is found underground that causes the disorder to arise.

During treatment it is important to explore and work on both the behaviors and behaviors that we observe (symptoms) and the deepest roots (real needs, functioning system, beliefs, feelings, emotions).

To do this, it is important to detect the problem as soon as possible, especially if the problem occurs during adolescence, a time of greatest vulnerability and lack of resources to deal with it without help; so here we will see the main warning signs to detect an eating disorder during school years especially useful for teachers.

Signs that allow detecting an eating disorder during school years

EDs have a multi-causal origin, so there is no single explanation behind their appearance; several biological, psychological, family and sociocultural factors can be intertwined. What is really known about the onset of the disorder is that in most cases there is the conviction to start a diet in order to improve one’s self-image and feel better.

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For decades it has been observed that The percentage of the population affected by Eating Disorders (ED) is increasing Although it was previously considered that they affected almost exclusively women between the ages of 14-25, currently they are increasingly spreading to the male population as well as minors in school and adults.

To detect an eating disorder in school-age boys and girls as soon as possible, Pay attention to the following warning signs to react in time

To do?

When we suspect a possible Eating Disorder at school, it is advisable to follow these guidelines. A teacher who suspects that a student in the class or school suffers from an eating disorder can collaborate by following the steps detailed below:

Share our doubts with the rest of the teaching team to evaluate the case

If you suspect it, it is advisable talk to the center’s psychologist or counselor to trace the path and agree with him how to have a meeting with the student.

Establish direct communication

The teacher with whom the student has the most ties will be in charge of leading the conversation to create from the beginning a climate of trust where the student can express themselves and become aware of the problem.

The conversation can be approached by following the following topics, avoiding direct confrontation: concern about their change in attitude and behavior, physical and emotional consequences of the disorder, relationship with the family and finally agreeing on how the matter will be transferred to the family. It must be taken into account that it is likely that the student denies it, does not understand it as a problem (it is one of the main symptoms) and therefore does not want to receive help.

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Offer mediation

Once the conversation with the student is over, remaining calm and acting firmly, The teacher will inform you that a meeting is going to be called with your family, offering to act as a mediator between family and student to convey your concern.

Organize the meeting with the family

The family meeting would be convenient to divide into two parts, the first where the teacher together with the family share the behavioral and emotional changes observed. In the second part, with the student present, the importance of early detection and early initiation of treatment will be addressed. Resources will be provided on centers with specialized professionals to go to to obtain complete advice and evaluation and thus be able to guide you towards the most optimal treatment.

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At Psicotools we believe it is important to promote preventive interventions that can help stop the growth in the incidence and prevalence of these diseases. To achieve this, we consider it essential to intervene through educational programs in risk groups (adolescents and schoolchildren) but also on educators and family members who, as we have seen, play a key role in detecting the disease. To see our contact details, click here.

Author: Carla Farré Soria, Dietitian-Nutritionist, Head of the Nutrition Area of ​​Psicotools