Understanding Eating Disorders in Teens

Photo of author
Written By MartinCorbett

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

What are Eating Disorders?

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia-nervosa are all eating disorders. They involve severe disturbances in eating habits. Anorexic teens refuse to maintain a normal weight. Bulimia is characterized by repeated binging episodes that are followed by compulsive eating behaviors like vomiting or the use laxatives to eliminate food from the body. Uncontrolled binge eating can lead to overeating. SunCloud Health is an integrated residential, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment center. We have locations in Northbrook (Lincoln Park), Naperville, and Northbrook. Dr. Kim Dennis leads our team of specialists who provide teen eating disorder treatment, long term support, and disease management to all those suffering from addictions to drugs and alcohol, as well as process addictions, eating disorders and mood disorders, traumas (PTSD), and other issues.

One in 100 females is affected by anorexia. Anorexic teens fear losing weight and tend to be at least 15% below their ideal body weight. Anorexic teens believe that their body image is the most important indicator of self-worth.

Experts believe that many American girls are bulimic. They have kept this secret from the public. Bulimia is a condition that often begins in late teens or early adulthood. Bulimia is characterized by a cycle of eating large amounts of food and then purging with vomiting, diuretics, or hours of exercise.

These are the warning signs of bulimia:

  • Extreme preoccupation about being overweight
  • Followed by strict dieting and high-calorie binges
  • When you are in distress, overeating
  • Feeling out-of-control
  • After a meal, disappearance
  • Depression
  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • Frequent use diuretics or laxatives
  • Excessive exercising
  • Period irregularities

What causes eating disorders in teens?

An eating disorder can be caused by many factors. Experts believe eating disorders are caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, family relationships, and psychological problems. Teens may be low in self-esteem or obsessed with a slim body.

Sometimes teens may develop eating disorders when they are involved in sports like running, gymnastics, and ballet. Researchers found that anorexia was linked to an obsession with perfection — worry over making mistakes, high standards of personal conduct, parental criticisms, and concern about being judged.

What are the Symptoms of Teen Eating Disorders?

These symptoms may be signs of an eating disorder:

  • A disfigured body image
  • Avoiding most meals
  • Unusual eating habits, such as skipping meals or eating thousands of calories in one meal.
  • Frequent weighing
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin or skin rash
  • Dental cavities
  • Tooth enamel erosion
  • Nail quality or hair loss

High levels of exercise interest and hyperactivity

Teens suffering from eating disorders often deny that there is anything wrong. They might be depressed, moody, anxious, or moody. They might withdraw from their friends and be sensitive to criticism. Parents may not be aware of the symptoms or the teenager keeps them secret. This can lead to the same problem as the trauma, insecurity, depression, and low self-esteem that could trigger the disorder.

How are Teen Eating Disorders Treated?

Eating disorders are not easy to treat, but they can be treated.

Teens can overcome bulimia by using a combination of antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy identifies and replaces inaccurate thoughts in order to change behavior.

Treatment for anorexia includes nutritional feeding, psychological treatment, and medical monitoring.

Are Eating Disorders Bad for My Health?

Eating disorders can cause serious illness or even death if they are not treated.

What should I do if I have an eating disorder?

Talk to your doctor if you suspect you may have an eating disorder. You will recover faster if you seek medical and psychological help as soon as possible.

Talk to your friend or family member if you suspect they have an eating disorder.