Your child or teen seems to be eating less, picking over the food you serve.\nIf you’re worried he or she has an eating disorder, you may have reason to be concerned: According to the National Eating Disorder Association, an estimated 20 million American women and 10 million American men will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives.\nThese are serious problems that require treatment \u2014 but how can you tell if someone has a true eating disorder or is just a picky eater?\nIt’s important to see a medical or mental health provider in order to diagnose an eating disorder, though there are a few signs and symptoms to be mindful of if you believe your child may have an issue.\nFirst, What Is an Eating Disorder?\n“Eating disorder” is a general term for persistent, abnormal eating habits and behaviors that negatively affect your life and overall health. The most common of these disorders are Binge Eating Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, and Bulimia Nervosa.\nThese medical conditions differ from more everyday forms of disordered eating, such as crash dieting or stress-eating.\nRELATED: Identifying and Treating an Eating Disorder\nEating disorders often develop in teen and young adult years. They can have a dramatic effect on the heart, digestive system, bones, mouth, and more.\nAnorexia Nervosa Warning Signs\nThis eating disorder is characterized by abnormally low body weight, a fixation on body shape and size, and restrictive eating and it can be life-threatening. Look for other eating disorder risk factors of anorexia such as:\n\nSevere fear of gaining weight\nDistorted perception of body weight or shape\nExtreme limiting of calories\nExcessive exercise\nUse of laxatives or diet aids\nVomiting after meals\n\nFor referrals and more information, call 412-647-9329 or visit the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders.\nWarning Signs for Bulimia Nervosa\nBulimia Nervosa is a condition that involves episodes of binging and purging. Those who suffer from this disorder may eat an abnormally large amount of food during a short period of time and then purge it by vomiting, taking laxatives, diuretics, or extreme exercising. Bulimia Nervosa also can be life-threatening. Symptoms may include:\n\nFeeling lack of control about eating\nRestricted eating during the day\nRidding self of calories in unhealthy ways, including vomiting, excessive exercise, or laxative use\nPreoccupation with one’s weight and body shape\n\nWarning Signs of Binge Eating Disorder\nPeople suffering from Binge Eating Disorder go through recurring episodes of overeating, often consuming large quantities of food over a short period of time. They may feel a loss of control during an eating binge, as well as feelings of shame or distress. Other symptoms may include:\n\nEating too quickly\nEating more food than intended\nEating when no longer hungry or when uncomfortably full\nFeelings of guilt, disgust, or shame\nEating alone to hide overeating\n\nSeeking Treatment for Eating Disorders\nIf you believe your child may suffer from an eating disorder or unhealthy eating habits, please schedule an appointment with your doctor or the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders to get an evaluation.\nThe UPMC Center for Eating Disorders provides comprehensive eating disorder treatment for both children and adults. It is one of the nation’s few eating disorder treatment programs affiliated with a major academic medical center.