Eating disorders have gotten more attention lately thanks to talk shows and reality shows that feature those with these conditions that are willing to share their story with the world. Some are working hard to over come things like anorexia or binge eating disorder, and some are defending how they eat (or don't eat) stating that they simply can not live any other way. Now that these are more widely know, parents have more tools to watch for and help their children if they suspect that something is not right with how they eat or how they care for themselves. Binge eating can be one of the easiest to spot of you are paying attention.

You may not notice a binge eating disorder right away, but it should become apparent. If you notice that your child is eating a lot of food but never seems to gain any weight, or may even be losing, this could very well be a sign that they are binging and purging, which means they are eating excessive amounts of food and then throwing it up before the body has a chance to digest the calories. They enjoy food very much, but they do not want to gain. For some though, this is not obvious because they do the binging in private.

If you notice this problem, there are a few things to consider before you decide that your child (or someone else that you care about) has a binge eating disorder. If they are on medications, discuss the side effects with your child's doctor. Some medications can cause weight loss even when a child has a good appetite. If this has been the way your child has always eaten, it could be normal for their body. If they are going through puberty, it could be a hormonal thing. However, these are rare. Most often, a binge eating disorder is to blame for the behavior.

Someone living in your home with this disorder may hide it well because they know you would not approve. They may eat normally at meal time, but always find a way to get into the bathroom, usually one far from your hearing, soon after a meal is done. You may also find signs of hiding food so that they can binge in private. You may find a large stash of goodies in their room, or the wrappers piling up. Once they are far into this type of disorder they will get better at hiding it, so these clues may disappear after they have been doing this for a while.

The biggest problem with binge eating disorder is that it can cause throat cancer from stomach acid coming up many times a day. It also causes the body to go into starvation mode, and the person can lose weight to the point where they are sickly and they could die from lack of nutrition. It might seem like a personal choice and a way to still enjoy food while staying slim, but it can be a deadly way to control weight. Therapy and most often inpatient treatment is needed (often repeatedly) to fight a binge eating disorder. Don't turn your back, get someone the help that they need.