The Importance of Early Intervention in Adolescents with Eating Disorders

Girl struggling with eating disorders

Eating disorders can cause serious health problems, especially in children and teenagers who are in the early stages of development, both mentally and physically. This is why early intervention is so crucial.

“Research on treatments for eating disorders, as well as most mental health problems in general, indicates that early identification and treatment improves the speed of recovery, reduces symptoms to a greater extent and improves the likelihood of staying free of the illness [1].”

If you notice your child is engaging in any of the following behaviors, early intervention might be needed as it may be worth taking a closer look at their relationship with food and their body.

1. Does your child have beliefs about food that are not accurate, induce fear and/or anxiety, or cause your child to avoid specific food(s) altogether?

2. Does your child make negative, self-critical comments about their body?

3. Do these beliefs prevent your child from wearing the clothes they want or prevent them from enjoying shopping for new clothes or being out in public?

4. Does your child disappear after eating?

5. Does your child immediately use the bathroom after eating?

6. Does your child frequently claim they have “already eaten”?

7. Do you see your child eating throughout the day?

While these are just a few potential signs that your child is struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder, the symptoms are not limited to this list alone. Early intervention and seeking professional advice may be needed.


[1] Lock, Agras, Bryson, & Kraemer, 2005; Loeb et al., 2007; Russell, George, Dare, & Eisler, 1987; Treasure & Russell, 2011.

About the Author:
Michelle Evans Headshot - 718x712Michelle Evans, LPC, NCC, CEDS-S

The Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program at EDCare Colorado Springs is under the guidance of Program Coordinator Michelle Evans.

Michelle is a certified eating disorder specialist supervisor, with over 10 years of experience working with eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, and OCD. With a passion for working with adolescent patients and their families, Michelle’s combines her knowledge and caring nature to help families achieve lasting recovery together.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published June 13, 2019, on
Reviewed & Approved on June 13, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.