Eating disorders are serious psychiatric disorders associated with high levels of suicidality, particularly if depression is also present. Parents should take very seriously morbid or black thoughts, or self destructive acts, by their eating disordered child. An attempt at suicide in these individuals may be much different than the "cry for attention" associated with suicide attempts in the general population. The illness may produce impulsive self-destructive behaviors that need to be immediately managed by prevention (locking up knives, razors, etc.), close surveillance and possibly hospitalization.
The WARNING SIGNS of SUICIDE include:
It's imperative to take any and all suicidal statements or threats very seriously. It is not permissible for the eating disorder or the individual suffering to use a threat as a means of trying to control a loved one. Therefore, especially with minors, when a statement is made that is threatening -- i.e. "if you make me eat that then I will slit my wrists" or "I'm better of dead" or "I want to die" -- then in a matter of fact manner inquire if they are saying this to threaten or if they have a plan and intention. If they are unable to identify a specific plan for keeping themselves safe then take them to the nearest emergency room to be assessed or if unable to do that call 911 or other emergency services. Here are additional suicide prevention resources and hotlines in USA, Canada, UK, France and Australia.
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