Eating Disorders in Teens

By: Katherine Phillips

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There are two types of eating disorders, one type is anorexia nervosa, which is when people starve themselves because of a compulsive fear of getting fat. Another eating disorder is bulimia nervosa and that is when there is a strict diet with excessive exercise. This is followed by binge eating and then deliberate vomiting and purging with laxatives. These eating disorders are common in Caucasian-American, Asian-American, and Latin-American young women. Eating disorders also have a lot of health concerns. Most are at risk of having malnutrition.



Causes of eating disorders:

  • Distress
  • Fear of becoming overweight
  • Feeling of helplessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse

Signs to look for:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Perfectionism
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Binge eating
  • Excessive compulsive exercising
  • Unusual interest in life

Health issues:
  • Damage to major organs
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Thinning bones
  • Irregular heart beat

Treatments:
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Support groups
  • Nutritional counseling


When helping an adolescent out of an eating disorder it can be a tough, only 50 percent become fully free from the disorder when treated. With such low results it can be discouraging, but encouraging and being there for your child is what is necessary. The average age of having an eating disorder is 17, but can begin at as young as 8 years old.

Eating disorder awareness

Citations

Berk, L. (2010). Development Through the Lifespan (Fifth ed.). Allyn & Bacon.


Feature, K. (n.d.). Eating Disorders in Children and Teens. Retrieved October 29, 2014.


Micali, N., Ploubidis, G., De Stavola, B., Simonoff, E., & Treasure, J. (2014). Frequency and patterns of eating disorder symptoms in early adolescence. Journal Of Adolescent Health, 54(5), 574-581. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.10.200