Samantha Gluck Looking trim and fit is a top priority among many Americans today. We have perhaps never been so health-obsessed, constantly trying new exercise regimes and fad diets. While regular exercise and healthy eating habits are great ways to stay fit, some people may take dieting and exercising to the extreme. This may lead to the development of an eating disorder, which can be very dangerous.
Eating disorders are complex illnesses that affect people of all ages; the onset of eating disorders typically occurs during pre-adolescence or adolescence. Eating disorders affect millions of adolescents and young adults in the U.
Given the serious medical complications that may result from eating disorders, it is imperative to identify, diagnose and treat them as early as possible. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, recovery is possible. The data around adolescent eating disorders is alarming: This concern endures through life.
While eating disorders as a group are complex, most begin with either accidental or purposeful weight loss that can lead to unhealthy measures to sustain the loss. Pre-adolescence and adolescence are particularly challenging years for those with eating disorders given emotional and physical changes, as well as academic, family and peer pressures.
Whether done in the context of an innocent family nickname or in a malicious bullying event, these instances of feeling shame, or being shamed, based on size or physical appearance are powerful contributors to a teenager developing an eating disorder.
Teenagers and their families can play a significant role in preventing or stopping early-stage eating disorders by not participating in these types of conversations and by taking bullying concerns seriously.
Diagnosing Eating Disorders The earlier eating disorders are diagnosed and treated, the more likely the probability of complete recovery. However, many adolescents go undiagnosed and do not receive treatment until their eating disorders are at an advanced stage.
One reason is teenagers with eating disorders often try to hide their behaviors. Or teenagers as well as family and friends may be in denial about their eating disorders, or simply unaware of the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder.
They may also appear to eat normally in front of peers or family while secretly restricting food intake, bingeing, purging, or over exercising. Different types of eating disorders produce different warning signs, about which friends, family and patients themselves should become aware.
The most common eating disorders among adolescents are anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. Even patients that do not meet all of the clinical criteria for an eating disorder can be at serious risk and should seek medical treatment.
Anorexia Teenagers with anorexia may take extreme measures to avoid eating and control the quantity and quality of the foods they do eat. They may become abnormally thin, or thin for their body, and still talk about feeling fat. They typically continue to diet even at very unhealthy weights because they have a distorted image of their body.
Signs of anorexia may include: Teenagers with anorexia often restrict not only food, but relationships, social activities and pleasurable experiences. Eating binges may occur as often as several times a day but are most common in the evening and night hours.
Teenagers with bulimia often go unnoticed due to the ability to maintain a normal body weight. Signs of bulimia may include: Teenagers with bulimia often have a preoccupation with body weight and shape, as well as a distorted body image. The clinical diagnosis commonly defines a teenager as having bulimia if they binge and purge on average once a week for at least three consecutive months.
Binge Eating Disorders Binge eating disorder is characterized by a sense of uncontrollable excessive eating, followed by feelings of shame and guilt. Unlike those with bulimia, however, teenagers with binge eating disorders typically do not compensate for their binges. Teenagers with binge eating disorder are typically overweight.
They may feel like they have no control over their behavior and eat in secret when they are not hungry. Signs of Binge Eating Disorder might include: Eating unusually large amounts of food in a distinct period of time within 2 hours Eating rapidy Hiding food or discarded food containers and wrappers Eating in secret because of feeling embarassed by how much they are eating Eating when stressed or when feeling uncertain how to cope Feeling that they are unable to control how much they eat and disgusted with themselves afterwards Experimentation with different diets Most of the physical signs and symptoms associated with binge eating disorder are long-term including weight gain often leading to obesityhigh blood pressure, diabetes, irregular menstrual cycle, skin disorders and heart disease.
Similar to bulimia, binge eating disorder is commonly diagnosed if teenagers binge on average once a week for at least three consecutive months.
Eating Disorder Treatment Recommended treatment for adolescent eating disorders usually involves a multidisciplinary approach.
Treatment should include medical; psychiatric; individual, group and, in particular, family therapy; along with nutritional rehabilitation aimed at restoring health and body weight and eventually modifying behaviors related to eating and exercise.
Treatment should always be based on a comprehensive evaluation of the individual and family. The frequency of medical complications during the course of treatment requires the close supervision of a medical professional.Eating disorders in children and teens can lead to a host of serious physical problems and even death.
If you spot any of the signs of the eating disorders listed below, call your child's doctor. Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, are psychological disorders that involve extreme disturbances in eating behavior.
A teen with anorexia. Eating disorders can take a devastating toll on teens — especially girls. To help protect your child, understand the possible causes of teen eating disorders and know how to talk to your son or daughter about healthy-eating habits. An estimated 5- to million females and 1-million males are battling an eating disorder in the U.S.
Young white females seem to be the most common group of individuals affected due to more social pressures to have a thin figure in the white community than in other ethnic communities.
Studies of twins reveal that genetic factors account for 40 to 50 percent of eating disorder risk factors, including teen anorexia, teen bulimia, and teen binge-eating disorder. Brain Functioning: There is a connection between eating disorders and brain functioning.
Types Of Eating Disorders. An eating disorder is commonly defined as an all-consuming desire to be thin and/or an intense fear of weight gain. The most common eating disorders among adolescents are anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder.