An eating disorder is a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. These include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and more. It’s when an individual restricts calories or over exercises to attain a body type they deem as ideal. And, even when thin, one looks in the mirror and sees obesity.
My son is 2 years old. He didn’t have an eating disorder. He wasn’t looking in the mirror thinking he was fat. He wasn’t feeling that he needed to go for an extra run to burn more calories. Or, that he needed overeat and binge in an uncontrollable manner. My son had a feeding disorder, which is completely different from an eating disorder!
I had an eating disorder. My son had a feeding disorder. He had a medical issue that resulted in him being unable to swallow food. Until it was determined that he had severe food allergies, he vomited excessively and gagged each time he was in the high chair. As a result, his esophagus became so inflamed, and he was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE). And, not because he wanted to be thin, but because he had a medical problem that caused him to have several types of reactions after eating. As a result, he developed a food aversion, similar to that of eating disorders. But, not because he wanted to appear skinny. Food that I was feeding him made him so ill inside, and because he was too little to communicate this pain, he refused to eat. Pretty unbelievable, if I say so myself.
Once his medical issue was determined and resolved, he then needed intensive therapy to teach him how to chew, eat, and swallow, but most importantly, be fed foods that would not make him sick. He needed to learn to trust the caregiver feeding him, which was extremely challenging. And, that’s where Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital came into play.
Just like eating disorders, it takes a lot of time, patience, and therapy with the help of medical professionals, family, and support systems to overcome a medical issue for the benefit of his health. And, my son at the young age of 18-months-old at the time demonstrated strength, fight, and will to succeed… And I couldn’t be more proud.
Please see this amazing article, Feeding disorders can cause problems in some children, featuring Austin, that was published as a story on the front page of the Baltimore Sun yesterday, November 20, 2015.