Teen Eating Disorders

Understanding Different Eating Disorders

Around 24 million people of all ages and genders in the United States suffers from an eating disorder.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Teen eating disorders are very serious and dangerous emotional and physical addictions that involve obsessions with food, weight and body-appearance. Once these obsessions reach a degree that is dangerous to a person’s health, relationship and daily activities, it is important to seek treatment for eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or compulsive eating disorder.

Anorexia is a serious and life-threatening illness that involves self-imposed starvation. Continually denying their hunger, even while they remain obsessed with the thought of food and eating, teens with anorexia refuse to maintain an ideal body weight for their normal age and are often 15% below ideal weight. Teens suffering from this disorders often limit pleasure from their lives, affecting their relationships and social activities.

Those suffering from bulimia nervosa do not have the problem of self-starvation; instead they suffer from “binge” eating, followed by “purging.” “Binge” eating refers to eating large amounts of food in a short amount of time, while “purging” means ridding the body of the just-eaten food using laxatives, vomiting, or enemas. The damage to the digestive system, kidneys and heart is extensive in suffers of bulimia and damage to the throat, mouth and teeth is also severe. Those with bulimia are also at risk for impulsive and self-destructive behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual promiscuity.

Compulsive eating disorder is less heard of than the two prior illnesses, but is just as serious. Compulsive eaters will often have episodes of uncontrollable eating, followed by guilt and depression. This over-consumption often causes a pressured, “frenzied” emotion, causing anxiety and depression.

While eating disorders affect every race and age, it is most prevalent among teens and young adults, those still finding their place in the world. Understanding teen eating disorders, where they come from and how to treat them can be a life-saver for all sufferers of this illness.

Teen Eating Disorders In Girls

Common Eating Disorders That Affect Girls


Society today is extremely focused on physical appearance.  Sadly, millions of people think that they are not good enough, and turn to activities that are not only unhealthy, but also extremely dangerous.  Over the last few years, teen eating disorders in girls have skyrocketed in frequency with hospitalizations and deaths also increasing.  The 2 main eating disorders that girls suffer from are anorexia and bulimia.


Anorexia is an eating disorder that involves a person (can be male or female) eating a severely restricted number of calories.  By eating less than the body needs, the person looses weight, but is often accompanied by binges due to lack of food.  People suffering fro anorexia will appear extremely thin and emaciated and will have a distorted image of his or her body.


Bulimia, on the other hand, is when a person eats normally, but purposely vomits to get rid of what has been ingested.  This eating disorder often occurs when a person feels guilty for what he or she has eaten.  Just like with anorexia, people with bulimia will be very thin and likely have a negative body image.


Both of these eating disorders are extremely dangerous and need to be addressed when suspected in a loved one.  If you do know someone who is struggling with one of these debilitating illnesses, you need to get them help as soon as possible.  Counseling is one thing that should definitely be incorporated, but you need to consider rehabilitation if the situation is bad enough.

Teen Eating Disorders and Health

Recognizing The Effects Of Eating Disorders In Teens


While there are thousands of different disorders that a person can get, one of the most debilitating is an eating disorder.  These disorders are characterized by altered eating habits that possibly involve under or over eating to the point that physical or mental damage is done.  The most common types of eating disorders found in teenagers are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, but other common types include binge eating and other non-specific eating disorders.  While these are commonly seen among females, members of both sexes can be affected by any of these disorders.  If you are a parent with children, you have a responsibility to think about teen eating disorders and health.


An eating disorder can have serious side effects on those that are suffering from them.  Some of the risks include malnutrition, dehydration, hyponatremia, electrolyte imbalances, Refeeding syndrome, destruction of teeth, Barrett’s Esophagus, paralysis, insomnia, hypotension, diabetes, iron deficiency, osteoporosis, amenorrhea, and a whole host of other life-threatening side effects.  Since the effects of these disorders are so serious, it is important to be aware of what the warning signs are.  Many of the effects are physically manifest and can be seen by others, but some of the most serious can only be detected by medical professionals.  If you feel like someone you love is battling with an eating disorder, you need to get him or her help immediately.  Teen eating disorders and health should be at the top of your mind when you have children that are going through their teenage years.

Teen Dieting

Ensuring Your Teen Diets The Right Way


Society today is obsessed with looks. Magazines, television shows, movies, and the Internet are all full of images of both men and women who have the “perfect” body.  These images make it difficult for people, especially teenagers, to know what weight is appropriate and healthy because it brings a distorted vision of reality.  This makes it important for you to speak with your teen, or children at any age, about dieting the right way and what constitutes a healthy weight.


Teen dieting is on the rise.  Sadly, it is rising for the wrong reasons.  Instead of wanting to be healthy, teens are skipping meals or starving themselves so they look how they feel society wants them to look.  While it is extremely important for your teen to maintain a healthy weight, you want to make sure that weight is maintained through a combination of exercise and good eating.  You should never allow your children to participate in teen dieting that does not include exercise as a part of the weight loss process.  Both you and the teenager should be a part of the decision for your teen to start a diet.


If you and your teen decide that dieting is a good idea, you should talk about risks of improper dieting.  When teens diet, they may be tempted to do it in ways that is unhealthy and can even be life threatening.  Speak with your son or daughter about the dangers of eating disorders and make sure you have an open relationship so he or she can come to you with any problems during the diet.

Talking To Teens About Eating Disorders

If you are a parent of a teenager who suffers from an eating disorder, you may feel helpless, confused, and frustrated at times.  Often, signs of an eating disorder are not apparent until your teen shows outward changes physically or behaviorally, such as excessive weight loss, refusal to eat in front of others, extreme fear of gaining weight, or obsessive exercise regimens.  It is important that you get professional help for your teen, but you can also talk to your teen about eating disorders in a way that will help foster a positive attitude about the situation.


Teenagers with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, often have low self-esteem and are self-conscious.  They may also be depressed and anxious, and feel guilty about their actions.  To prevent these negative feelings from becoming worse, you should have conversations about eating disorders in a non-confrontational manner.  Select a time when you can talk in private.  Avoid making accusations, threats, and demands of your teen, and do not discuss body image or try to dismiss your teen’s feeling.  Talk, instead, about how you are concerned about their health and discuss what the long-term effects of eating disorders are.


Seek the help of an impartial third party, such as a nutritionist, doctor, counselor, or specialist.  Often, teens find it easier to open up to people who are not directly related because they feel less judged.  Eating disorders can be treated successfully if caught early and treated with proper guidance and education.  Talk to your teen about eating disorders at the first sign of any problems, and you will have a better chance of helping your teen.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders in Teens

What Parents Should Know About Symptoms Of Eating Disorders In Teens

One topic that is rarely discussed enough is eating disorders. Especially in teens, they can be a struggle that can go on for years and sometimes have devastating consequences. You may be constantly on the lookout for signs that your teen may need help, but what should you look for? Here is some information that may help you identify some of the symptoms of eating disorders in teens.

Anorexia is an eating disorder where the individual starves themselves, often as a result of a misconstrued body image. Due to the lack of nutrition, your teen may start to slough off weight very quickly, may lose their menstrual cycle, their hair may become thin, and they may be easily fatigued. If your teen starts obsessing over counting calories, exercises in excess, never wants to eat, or starts displaying odd behaviors while eating, you would be wise to get a doctor’s opinion.

Another eating disorder is Bulimia. In this case, your teen will eat quite a bit of food, but avoid the caloric intake by inducing vomiting or using laxatives. Affecting teens in every weight category, it can be difficult to spot at first. People often assume that symptoms of eating disorders in teens means excessive weight loss, but that is not always the case. You may notice scars on the fingers or hands (which are caused from purging), damage to the teeth, gums, and potentially the esophagus, heartburn, or sudden irregularity in their menstrual cycle. You may discover that your teen overeats and then disappears into a bathroom immediately after, that they are extremely focused on dieting, and you may even find food or signs of food hidden in their rooms.

If you notice potential signs that your teen may be struggling with one of these disorders, seeking professional help is crucial. By knowing the symptoms of eating disorders in teens, more parents can give their children the help and support they need.

Social Consequences Of Having An Eating Disorder

If you suspect a family member or friend has an eating disorder, you may find it difficult to bring up the subject with them.  In reality, the person suffering from an eating disorder may be too embarrassed to ask for help.  The social consequences of having an eating disorder can be just as devastating as its effects on a person’s health.  If you see signs of an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binging, you should consult with a professional who specializes in eating disorders, and see what kind of help can be provided.


Often, people with eating disorders try to hide their actions, but there are usually warning signs that signal a problem exists.  People with eating disorders obsess about gaining weight and counting calories.  They often skip meals, pick at their food, and refuse to go out on social events involving food.  They may eat normally but immediately go to the bathroom to purge, or take large amounts of laxatives and diet pills.  If you see signs of an eating disorder, it is best to intervene early for the best chance at recovery.


Try to talk to your family member or friend in a private, nonconfrontational manner.  Do not try to judge or dismiss the person’s fear of gaining weight.  Instead, talk about your concerns about the person’s health and the social consequences of having an eating disorder.  Give your loved one an outlet to express their fears without ridicule or judgment.  Being supportive and providing professional resources to a person with an eating disorder is always the best approach to a full recovery.

How To Recognize Eating Disorders In Teens

Eating disorders are something that millions of people struggle with.  Sometimes it can take a lifetime to finally rid oneself of the disorder.  The most important things that you can do for someone who has an eating disorder is recognizing the signs of eating disorders in teens and offering help. While you may think that the only sign that someone has an eating disorder is dramatic weight loss; that is simply not the case.  Eating disorders manifest themselves in a number of physical and behavioral changes in people and are almost impossible to completely hide when you know what you are looking for.


The following may be signs that you will see when someone has an eating disorder, but is not a comprehensive list by any means.  One of the most obvious signs of eating disorders in teens was already mentioned: dramatic weight loss over a short time period.  Others include: wearing baggy clothing to hide the body, obsession with the caloric value of food, obsession with exercise, binge eating or purging, isolation, visiting the bathroom immediately after meals, hair loss, cessation of menstrual cycle, mood swings, and acid damage to teeth.  If anyone that you love is showing signs of an eating disorder, you need to get them help.  Counseling can be a great way for someone to start the healing process from an eating disorder and is a must for a real recovery.  Be supportive, yet firm in setting goals and monitoring how your teen is doing and you can help them fully heal mentally and physically.

The Stages Of Eating Disorder Recovery

Recovery from an eating disorder is a process that consists of several stages. Looking at this process when you or a family member are just starting out can seem daunting. While eating disorder recovery is an on-going process, progress begins on the very first day.

It is often necessary to seek professional assistance during the recovery and treatment process. The patience and insight of therapists, psychologists, and doctors are invaluable, especially during the initial weeks and months of treatment. This first stage is characterized by a greater or lesser degree of medical intervention, whether that comes in the form of a hospital stay, doctor’s care, or psychiatric hospitalization.

After this first period of treatment the patient will receive treatment on an out-patient basis. This can include regular therapy sessions and medical checkups to assess progress. You might find it helpful to seek out a clinic or practitioner experienced in treating people diagnosed with an eating disorder. Medication, a managed diet, and other forms of therapy will continue during this second stage.

As out-patient treatment becomes necessary on a less frequent basis other forms of support will be helpful. Support groups provided a much-needed “check in” for people with eating disorders. These groups are safe, supportive environments that can play a key role in long-term recovery. Most groups are facilitated by a licensed therapist or other professional.

Recovery from an eating disorder is possible. It’s important not to give up hope. With the right support during every stage of recovery, a new life is within your grasp.

Five Common Signs Of An Eating Disorder

What is an eating disorder?  What are the 5 signs to look for?  Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are serious disorders which can have devastating or life-threatening consequences if not treated.  People with anorexia have a distorted body image and see themselves as fat even if they are malnourished and extremely underweight.  If not treated, anorexics can become so malnourished that they can face organ failure and death.  Bulimics have a pattern of eating excessively and then purging themselves immediately afterwards.  Though most bulimics are not underweight, they can suffer the health consequences of constant purging with erosion of the esophagus and teeth enamel.


Most people with eating disorders suffer in secret because they feel ashamed or have extreme guilt.  If you see the early warning signs of an eating disorder, you can intervene before the disease takes over the person’s life and jeopardizes their health.  The five most common signs of an eating disorder are related to the person’s behavior and outward signs of an obsession with food and weight:


  • An obsession about weight and dieting, even if underweight or thin.
  • Skipping meals or avoiding social situations involving food.
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body.
  • Obsessive exercising and making negative comments about their body.
  • Eating food or hoarding food in secret.


If you are aware of the 5 signs to look for in an eating disorder, and see someone who may have an eating disorder, seek immediate professional help for the person.  Try to talk to the person in a non-judgmental manner and show them you are concerned about their long-term health.  With early treatment, eating disorders are treatable and a full recovery to health is possible.