Eating Disorders Explained

Prevention, Support and Information

Unfortunately, eating disorders are prevalent among adolescents. It is important to be informed, as a parent, so if your child does show signs of one you can address it in the best way possible

Common Causes of Eating Disorders

  • Dissatisfaction with body image
  • Severe dieting
  • A culture that promotes skinny over healthy
  • Family has a high concern for weight
  • Persistent high weight
  • Depression
  • Parental dieting
  • Harmful peer relationships
  • Early puberty

Anorexia Nervosa - starvation due to a compulsive fear of getting fat

  • boys account for 10% of cases
  • suffer from a severe distortion of body image
  • lose between 25-50% of body weight
  • menstrual period cease
  • symptoms: pale skin, brittle discolored nails, fine dark hairs all over body, and sensitivity to cold
  • serious side effects: kidney failure, brain damage, loss of bone mass
  • only 50% fully recover
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Bulimia Nervosa - binge eating followed by intentional vomiting and purging with laxitives

  • causes eroded enamel and damage to throat and stomach
  • more common that anorexia nervosa
  • overeat at meals
  • abuse laxitives
  • common in impulsive adolescents
  • most attempt to cry out for help
  • easier to treat than anorexia
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  • in severe cases hospitalization is necessary
  • family therapy
  • anxiety reducing medication
  • support groups
  • nutrition education
  • appetite-control medication
I Didn't Know I Had An Eating Disorder

Berk, L. (2010). Development through the lifespan (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Le Grange, D., O'Connor, M., Hughes, E. K., Macdonald, J., Little, K., & Olsson, C. A. (2014). Developmental antecedents of abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors in adolescence. International Journal Of Eating Disorders, 47(7), 813-824. doi:10.1002/eat.22331