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What can I do if I think my teenage daughter is hurting herself?

Armin Brott
Pediatrics
If you think your daughter is hurting herself, the very first thing you need to do is get a health professional involved. Unexplained weight loss, sudden changes in behavior, unexplained major mood changes and weight loss are all major red flags. Keep a detailed record of what you see your daughter eating over the course of a week, as well as any behavior that concerns you. Then, take your notes to your family doctor and get his or her advice.   

If your daughter is indeed harming herself, she needs help right now. Unfortunately, as a parent, you're not the right person for the job. You’re too emotionally close to the issue and it will be very difficult for you to maintain an objective point of view. Start with your daughter’s pediatrician, who will refer you to an appropriate specialist if necessary.
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

If you think your teenage daughter is hurting herself, the very first thing you need to do is to involve your daughter’s pediatrician, who will refer you to an appropriate specialist if necessary.

Unexplained weight loss, sudden changes in behavior, and unexplained major mood changes are all major red flags. Keep a detailed record of what you see your daughter eating over the course of a week, as well as any behavior that concerns you. Then, take your notes to your family doctor and get his or her advice.

Do seek assessment from your daughter's pediatrician. Some more red flags for parents include:

  • unexplained bruises, cuts or marks
  • feelings and expressions or worthlessness
  • poor body/ self-image
  • angry, defiant behavior
  • isolation
  • time spent in bathroom immediately after eating
  • voices plan to harm self

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.