Teen Daughter Suddenly Lost Weight? Here's What You Need To Know About Eating Disorders, Heart Health & Mental Health Conditions

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If your adolescent daughter has suddenly lost a lot of weight and her pediatrician cannot find any medical related causes, your daughter may be given a diagnosis of an eating disorder. She's not alone. According to statistics, 5.4% of those between 13 and 18 will have an eating disorder at some point in their life and half of them will have severe conditions. 

It's important to understand that having a proper diagnosis listed in her medical records is necessary in order for treatment to be obtained and covered by insurance. It's also important to understand the risks to her heart as well as the comorbid mental health conditions that are common in those with eating disorders. Because of the risks that are involved, treatment is crucial. Here's what you need to know. 

Risks to Heart Health 

Since your daughter is consuming fewer calories than her body needs, her body compensates for the lack of calories by breaking down the tissues in her body to obtain fuel. The first tissues that are broken down are the muscles. What's most important to understand about this is that the heart is a muscle and, therefore, negatively affected by the lack of calories.

The heart becomes unable to pump blood throughout the body, which results in low blood pressure. This, in turn, results in dizziness or fainting. The heart then tries to compensate for the low blood pressure by increasing the heart rate. This becomes a continuing downward spiral that can result in a significantly increased risk of heart failure. This is a huge reason why she needs to be treated for her eating disorder as soon as possible. 

Comorbid Mental Health Conditions 

Regardless of whether it's determined that your daughter has anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, there is a great likelihood that your daughter also has at least one additional mental health condition, such as anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, and/or obsessive compulsive disorder. Your child's pediatrician should refer her for a complete mental health evaluation in order for the proper treatment protocol to be determined so all issues are treated simultaneously. 

As you may be fully aware of, cooperation from your child may be difficult, at best, especially if she does have additional mental health conditions. Cooperation may be even more difficult if your daughter has fallen into substance abuse as a way to self-medicate, which can also be considered as a form of mental health illness. Should there be a substance abuse issue, the eating disorder treatment facility should be made fully aware so they can be prepared for the possibility of withdrawal. 

Consider getting in touch with centers like anorexia treatment centers by Center for Change for more help.