It is widely know children can develop Anorexia Nervosa at a very early age. It is important for parents to be aware of the behavours associated with this disease and know the treatment options available to eliminate it before it is too late.
(Sophie, shown here at 6, was just starting to restrict her eating. She was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa the following year.)
Sophie started starving herself in kindergarten, giving up sweets at first, then taking smaller and smaller portions of food. She exercised compulsively on the monkey bars.
But her parents had no idea she was developing anorexia nervosa because the active girl’s height and weight looked normal on the pediatrician’s growth chart.
“She was slim, but not skeletal,” said her mother Anne, a college professor from Washington State, who did not want to use real names to protect their privacy.
Sophie complained of being dizzy, having “itchy skin” and constipation, all symptoms of malnutrition. She later confessed that she had been throwing out her school snacks and lunches.
And one night when her mother was tucking her into bed, she blurted out, “Mommy, I have a problem … I am hungry all the time and I can’t eat,” remembers Anne. “A voice in my head is telling me not to eat.”
When Sophie was finally diagnosed in first grade, she hadn’t gained a pound for 10 months and had dropped from the 60th to the 19th percentile on the weight charts.
More than 10 million Americans have eating disorders, which have a 10 percent mortality rate, the highest of any psychiatric illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Look for these upcoming reports throughout Eating Disorders Awareness Week: ABC News will examine why men have a harder time getting an anorexia diagnosis, and we’ll give a revealing report on the rise of thinspo (short for thinspiration), a growing web-based movement that promotes anorexia as a lifestyle choice rather than an illness.
Anorexia nervosa is a chronic brain disorder with no known causes. It is rare among young children — but the number of hospitalizations is on the rise. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the rate jumped 72 percent between 1999 and 2009, the last year for which there are statistics.
Highly inheritable, it is estimated that 56 to 70 percent of those who are anorexic have a family member with an eating disorder or a co-morbidity like anxiety….
Located in Clearwater, Florida Fairwinds Treatment Center specializes in the treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Fairwinds Treatment Center’s eating disorder program is lean by Pauline Powers, M.D..Dr. Powers is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading researcher, educator and trainer in the ongoing battle to end eating disorders.
If you or someone close to you is in need of help, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center at 727-449-0300 or by email here. Our admissions counselors are here to help guide you through the process of determining the best course of action to meet your needs.