Teenage Eating Disorders: Symptoms, Problems and Treatment

Eating disorders are most commonly seen among teens. It begins with a sense of being very conscious about one’s looks and body. This leads to an exaggerated version or almost an obsession which keeps them from eating and taking proper diet.

Children are only eleven or thirteen or even just eight years old at times, when they face such dramatic weight fluctuations that disrupt not only their daily lives but also their vital organs. Most of these cases are common to girls rather than boys. Unfortunately, kids refrain from letting their parents know of such eating patterns for months or years.

Eating disorders are mainly of two kinds:

  • Anorexia nervosa, and
  • Bulimia

Anorexia: Teens suffering from this kind of an eating disorder are always afraid of gaining weight. They always think they are fat and go to the extent of taking diet pills, laxatives or water pills to lose weight.

Bulimia: This makes one eat lots at one time and then throw up or take laxatives to deliberately throw up. Teens affected by bulimia seem to hide their binging tendencies and are usually of normal weight.

Symptoms of eating disorders among teens:

  • Obsessed about gaining weight
  • Use of medicines to keep from gaining weight
  • Throwing up after meals
  • Not wanting to eat or lying about eating too much
  • Fainting
  • Extensive exercises
  • Not having periods
  • Scars on the knuckles
  • Trying to hide and always denying that there is something wrong

Varied health problems arising due to eating disorders:

  • Stomach problems
  • Heart problems
  • Delayed or no periods
  • Kidney problems
  • Dehydration
  • Dental problems
  • Skin becomes dry and starts scaling
  • Hair starts growing all over the body, including the face

Tips to help teens affected by eating disorders: This implies improving the nutritional diet of your kids. For example:

  • Ensure that they eat healthy food at home and outside
  • Make them keep low-calorie snacks while in school or at play
  • Include carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins in their diet
  • Prepare a variety of juices for them

Treatment: The treatment for anorexia and bulimia require the assistance of a doctor or maybe even a hospital, if your child is malnourished or too thin in case of anorexia. In both cases alike, family and individual counseling is very important, and can be used as an effective treatment to cure such eating disorders in teenagers.

Facts:

  • Experts claim that about 8,000,000 people or more suffer from eating disorders in the United States.
  • About 90 percent are women.