Eating Disorder Tips for Parents

While public knowledge of eating disorders have grown over the last few decades, it’s still dangerous for someone to assume they know everything about the subject. Not fully understanding eating disorders can prevent parents from fully comprehending what their child is experiencing. As a result, he or she may not receive proper treatment.

Eating disorders are serious diseases that affect males and females. Read on to discover how to recognize signs of eating disorders and provide support to a loved one facing this struggle:

Recognizing an Eating Disorder

The following changes in appearance and behavior may indicate your child is struggling with drug addiction. Keep in mind these can vary depending on the substance your child is abusing. Depressants, for example, will incur different physical symptoms than stimulants.

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Avoiding meals or claiming not to be hungry
  • Cooking for others without eating
  • Developing rituals like moving food around on a plate or chewing excessively
  • Dropping a dramatic amount of weight over time
  • Fixating on appearing overweight
  • Layering clothes, often to conceal weight loss
  • Losing menstrual period (for postpuberty females)
  • Sticking rigidly to routine.

Bulimia Nervosa

  • Avoiding eating in front of others
  • Concealing figure in baggy clothes
  • Hoarding food items
  • Swelling around cheeks and jaw
  • Signs of binging including the disappearance of large amounts of food
  • Signs of purging such as frequent trips to the restroom
  • Stained teeth

How to show your support

For parents trying to figure out the best way to support their child while he or she goes through recovery, adhere to the following do’s and don’ts.


  • Be patient
  • Invite your loved one to share their concerns without fear of judgment or chastising
  • Learn about eating disorders, including terminology, from skilled professionals
  • Offer to accompany your loved one to any appointment
  • Reach out to a trusted eating disorder specialist for questions or concerns


  • Assume that you always know what is best
  • Center conversations on food or appearance
  • Impose timetables for your child’s recovery
  • Make accusations or place blame on your child or other loved ones
  • Take your child’s actions personally.


For more tips and information about eating disorders and how to approach them, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today.


Why Choose Fairwinds Treatment Center

Fairwinds Treatment Center is one of the top eating disorder treatment centers in the world. Our specialists, Dr. Khal El-Yousef and Dr. Pauline Powers, understand the complexities of these ailments and the underlying psychological conditions that cause them, and implement clinically backed methods to help adult men and women and adolescent boys and girls uncover and overcome the root causes of their disorders, even while assisting in their physical recovery.

Dr. Pauline Powers is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading researcher, educator and trainer in the continually evolving field of eating disorder treatment, and has 40 years of experience fighting this fight. She currently sits on the Scientific Board of Directors of the National Eating Disorders Screening Program and the Editorial Board of the Eating Disorders Review and has also served as the founding President of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), President of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and founding member of the Eating Disorders Research Society.

At Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, we provide a unique and effective treatment approach that combines psychological and emotional support with nutritional guidance. Our medical professionals know that every patient is fighting their own intensely personal battle. With that in mind, our Eating Disorder programs are tailored to the needs of each individual and their family. We operate a small, comfortable residential treatment center where you or your loved one can take the time necessary to truly heal.

If you or your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, there is no time to waste. Contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today by phone or via our online form to start the journey toward treatment and recovery.

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The History of Fairwinds Treatment Center

Fairwinds Treatment Center was founded by Dr. Khal El-Yousef in 1989, and we offer a treatment model that combines the benefits of therapy with a more clinical approach to eating disorders, addiction and the underlying psychological conditions that can spur these self-destructive behaviors. We believe that addressing all of the factors that contribute to an eating disorder is the only way to facilitate a full recovery. As such, we are one of the only dually licensed psychiatric and substance abuse treatment facilities in the nation to earn accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which empowers us to address any chemical dependencies or behavioral issues that may contribute to an eating disorder.