Parents and family members are usually the first people to notice that a young person has an eating disorder. You may have noticed a change in their behaviour around food or how they feel about their body. You may have also noticed them losing weight or eating unusually but don’t know if you should question them about it.

It is important to not ignore weight loss in a child as they should be gaining weight as they grow. If you are concerned about weight loss then it needs to be investigated by a doctor. Your family doctor will normally be your first port of call.

When discussing any concerns it is helpful to avoid conversations with the young person on food and eating but to concentrate upon on how they are feeling and coping. Try not to accuse or confront as it will make the young person secretive and afraid of sharing information with you.

Approaching the topic with them can be a daunting prospect; however talking about it can be an essential first step. If you think someone you know or care for has a problem it may help to get some help or advice first before you bring the subject up. Organisations such as the BEAT are good sources of advice and information for parents and carers.

At Riverdale the treatment for young people involves parents and carers. This includes providing support and information for parents as part of the treatment process.

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