The thing is, as I said below, you don't expect boys to get anorexia or other eating disorders. So, as a parent, you might notice that something isn't 'quite right' but aren't sure whether you should seek professional help. Also, there's a misconception that, to be suffering from anorexia, you have to be stick thin. Obviously, during the early period, they might still be within a 'healthy weight range'. So if you visit your GP with your teenager in tow, you might not be taken seriously if their BMI is within a 'safe' range.
As a parent, you have a gut feeling when something just isn't right - and if your teenager is demonstrating behaviour similar to that described in the previous post, take them to the GP and explain your concerns. If the GP fobs you off, keep pestering them. With us, the alarm bells were ringing loud and clear but the GP wasn't taking me seriously. The GP never explained what professional help was available; it took the school nurse to tell me about CAMHS (the NHS-run Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). Then I had to twist our GP's arm to get Ben referred.
After that we had to wait MONTHS before we got our first appointment. This 'limbo' time can be really scary as you watch your child plummet into the eating disorder. You feel helpless and frightened, knowing your original gut instinct was right.
The first thing you should do during this limbo is to get yourself clued up on the facts and get some good peer support. Buy Janet Treasure's book (around £10 from Amazon) which is packed with information, advice and exercises you can do with your child. And join the Around The Dinner Table parents' forum. Introduce yourself - dozens of other mums will quickly come to your aid, offering help, advice and a shoulder to cry on. Also have a good read through the F.E.A.S.T website (ATDT above is their forum). It's American, but they really seem more clued up on anorexia and eating disorders over in the States.
You can also contact me or post a comment below and I'll get back to you.
My aim with this blog is to provide information for parents who are in a similar position to where I was back in the summer of 2009.