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.

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