Scandal star Portia de Rossi opened up to Entertainment Tonight  a few years ago about her struggle with anorexia and bulimia. The actress, now in her 40s, did not start battling these disorders as an adult, or even a teenager, but became anorexic and bulimic at the young age of 12.

While it is difficult to fathom a 12-year-old struggling with such adult issues, the much too unfortunate fact of the matter is that it is very common for the onset of an eating disorder to begin this early in adolescence. In fact, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, anorexia is the third most common illness among adolescents. Also, 95% of those struggling with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26 years old.


If you are worried that your pre-teen or teenager may be struggling with an eating disorder. Here are some signs to look out for:

With Anorexia:

• Dramatic change in weight
• Obsessing about calories, food intake, and diets.
• Refusal to eat at certain restaurants or certain foods cooked for them.
• Comments about being “fat,” “obese,” or “overweight.”
• Obsessing over food rituals such as chewing a certain amount of times or eating at exactly the same time every day.
• Withdrawal from friends and family.
• Lack of control with food (binging).

With Bulimia:

• Eating large amounts of food.
• Lack of control with food (binging).
• Going to the bathroom after every meal almost immediately.
• Hiding food in his/her bedroom.
• Using laxatives.
• Scars on knuckles.
• Frequent fluctuations in his/her weight.

There are things you can do to get your adolescent help. First and foremost, communicate with them and let them know you are open to talking, listening and helping. Second, seek professional help. Often times we want to help people, but don’t know where to begin: a counselor does and will get your child on the road to recovery.

If you notice any of the above signs, don’t count out that something could be wrong, no matter what the age of your child. Unfortunately, this is an issue that affects boys and girls of every age. The sooner you seek help; the sooner healing and recovery can begin.

Call Life Counseling Solutions today for a free 15-minute consultation with our Orlando Eating Disorder Counselor to schedule an appointment. A professional counselor will meet with you and your teenager to come up with a specialized treatment plan for healing and recovery. Call 407-622-1770 or schedule an appointment online here.

Author: DeAnn Macloskey