If your adolescent, teen, or young adult is struggling with secretive behavior, rituals, or compulsive habits around food they may be struggling with an eating disorder, our eating disorder test could help provide a helpful pre-diagnostic step into possible signs and symptoms.
Keep reading below for more information about eating disorders — including how it’s diagnosed and what happens if it’s left untreated — and to take the questionnaire.
Table of contents
- Who is This Eating Disorder Test For?
- Are Certain Genders More at Risk for an Eating Disorder?
- How Do You Know if You or Your Teen May Have an Eating Disorder?
- How Accurate is Our Eating Disorder Test?
- Types of Eating Disorders This Test May Identify
- Eating Disorder Test
- What Happens if an Eating Disorder Goes Untreated?
- How are Eating Disorders Diagnosed and Treated?
- How Can I Help My Teen or Young Adult During Recovery?
- Eating Disorder Next Steps
Who is This Eating Disorder Test For?
Our eating disorder test is for adolescents, teens, and young adults who identify as male, female, or LBGTQ+, or for their parents who may have concerns about their eating habits.
Are Certain Genders More at Risk for an Eating Disorder?
While eating disorders have been traditionally thought to impact women, many men show symptoms of eating disorders as well, according to research published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Moreover, according to The Trevor Project individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ experience greater rates of eating disorders in comparison to heterosexual and cisgender individuals.
How Do You Know if You or Your Teen May Have an Eating Disorder?
So how can you identify eating disorders in adolescence and help your child? Chase Kerrey, a licensed professional counselor and chief clinical officer at the Embark Behavioral Health outpatient clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, shared some insights.
Based on Kerrey’s experience, teens struggling with disordered eating tend to view their self-worth in binary terms like good or bad. They’re also inclined to focus on their weight and physical appearance when perceiving their self-worth.
“Humans need food as a basic building block of life. Adolescents struggling with eating disorders treat food as a coping skill or means of control — either in its consumption or lack thereof — rather than as a source of survival, enjoyment, and nutrition,” Kerrey said.
Common signs of eating disorders can include:
- Drastic changes in eating habits.
- Fluctuations in body shape and weight.
- Obsession with calories, food, and body image.
- Frequent comments about feeling fat or overweight.
- Avoidance of social situations that involve food.
- Compulsive exercising or excessive physical activity.
- Secretive behavior around meals or excessive time spent in the bathroom after eating.
- Development of rituals around eating, such as cutting food into small pieces or rearranging it on the plate.
- Noticeable mood swings, irritability, or withdrawal from friends and activities.
- Physical symptoms like dizziness, fainting, fatigue, or frequent stomachaches.
How Accurate is Our Eating Disorder Test?
Our eating disorder test may provide a preliminary assessment of possible eating habits and attitudes towards body image. It serves as an initial screening to identify potential indicators of an eating disorder, enabling adolescents, teens, young adults, and their parents to recognize if they may be at risk.
It’s important to note that this eating disorder quiz should not be used as a diagnosis; a certified mental health provider’s assessment should always be used for a formal diagnosis.
Types of Eating Disorders This Test May Identify
Eating disorders encompass a range of mental illnesses related to food, body size, and eating behaviors. Our eating disorder test may identify anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, AFRID, selective eating, and restrictive eating.
Binge Eating: Adolescents, teens, or young adults who consume large amounts of food in a short time which causes later distress can characterize binge eating.
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRID): Adolescents, teens, and young adults diagnosed with Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRID) often exhibit a lack of interest in food or avoid specific types of food, posing significant challenges in meeting their nutritional needs.
Bulimia: Male, female, and LGBTQ+ youths with bulimia often struggle with a vicious cycle of consuming large amounts of food followed by purging or excessive exercise. These behaviors are accompanied by overwhelming feelings of shame, guilt, and emotional distress.
Anorexia: Anorexia nervosa in adolescents, teens, and young adults often entails restricted eating, a profound dread of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of body size. Young people with anorexia may practice extreme dieting, leading to severe malnutrition and physical complications.
Selective Eating: Male, female, and LGBTQ+ youths with selective eating disorder, also known as picky eating, may exhibit a limited range of food preferences and aversions, causing distress and impairment.
Restrictive Eating: Adolescents, teens, and young adults with restrictive eating patterns consciously limit their food intake due to concerns about body image, weight, or food quality.
Eating Disorder Test
Embark’s eating disorder test assesses eating habits and attitudes through an online questionnaire designed to identify potential indicators or signs of an eating disorder.
For each of the questions in the eating disorder quiz below, please choose a response based on how often it applies to you (if you’re an adolescent, a teenager, or a young adult) or your child (if you’re the parent). The most honest responses will lead to the most accurate results. This test usually takes about five minutes. After you hit “Submit,” please scroll back down on the page for your results.
*It’s important to note that adolescents, teens, and young adults should not use our eating disorder test as a diagnostic tool for an eating disorder. If you believe your adolescent, teen, or young adult is struggling with an eating disorder, seek an official assessment from a trained mental health professional.
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What Happens if an Eating Disorder Goes Untreated?
If you suspect your child is dealing with disordered eating, Kerrey advised you avoid downplaying the issue, because it’s not just about eating food.
Untreated eating disorders can have serious consequences for both physical and mental health. They can lead to long-term health complications and negatively impact an adolescent, teen, or young adult’s overall quality of life. Neglecting treatment can worsen physical health conditions and hinder recovery and well-being.
How are Eating Disorders Diagnosed and Treated?
Eating disorder treatment requires care on multiple fronts to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of the disorder. Mental health professionals will use a series of official assessments, interviews, and evaluations to diagnose an eating disorder.
Treating your child’s eating disorder, Kerrey explained, involves treatment on two fronts: physiological and psychological restoration.
- Physiological restoration: Adolescents with eating disorders often need to reestablish a healthy relationship with food while restoring healthy body weight.
- Psychological restoration: Dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy can help adolescents learn alternative coping skills that will replace their eating disorder behaviors.
“In reality, adolescents struggling with eating disorders need help in addressing the underlying or unaddressed emotional struggles they face on the inside as much as any kind of weight-restoration measure,” Kerry stated.
How Can I Help My Teen or Young Adult During Recovery?
To best support your teen during eating disorder recovery, Kerrey noted it’s important you keep in mind how they’re feeling about what they’re experiencing.
“Many adolescents struggle with significant regret surrounding the development of their eating disorder, both in terms of the impact the addiction has had on themselves and their surrounding family,” he said.
Also, recognize recovery from eating disorders can be difficult, and practice compassion with your teen. For example, if you see they’re feeling guilty, tell them that you can see how this is difficult for them and that you’re here for them anytime they want to talk.
Eating Disorder Next Steps
If our eating disorder test suggests possible symptoms in you or your adolescent, teen, or young adult, a diagnosis and assessment from a mental health professional could be helpful.
Contact us today to learn how Embark can help you or your adolescent, teen, or young adult overcome an eating disorder.