Family Therapy UK

Anorexia – Spot the Signs and Where to Get Help


Anorexia needs to be taken very seriously because it is a serious mental health condition that can lead to death.

These are some typical signs of Anorexia:

Distorted body image (thinking they are fat when they are not)

Trying to keep weight low by restricting the amount of food they eat.

Using laxatives.

Hiding the fact they are not eating.

A great knowledge about the calorific value of foodstuffs.

Becoming very fussy about what they will eat.

Over exercising (sometimes in secret)

Making themselves sick after eating (often in secret).

Binging (eating lots of food and them vomiting it back)

If you are worried your child is developing Anorexia contact your doctor who may refer you to a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for further assessment and treatment. A typical approach for anorexia in CAMHS would be:

Individual therapy for the child with anorexia

Family therapy for the child with anorexia and the rest of the family

Psychiatric/medical overview.

Many health authorities have specialist eating disorders services which deal with the most worrying cases of anorexia. All health authorities will have access to inpatient services if they are required.

In cases where there is dangerous weight loss, admission to hospital for re-feeding may be required.

Some health authorities run Multi-Family Therapy courses for families. These courses are made up of several families who have a child with anorexia. They work together as a group to manage the anorexia. This way of working has good outcomes.

Some sources of help:

Your GP

Your School Nurse/Doctor (Community Paediatrician)

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