The obsession of weight and having the perfect body is affecting millions of teens all over the world. In fact, one out of seven girls are said to be struggling with some type of eating disorder. According to a previous study, 36% of teenage girls believed to be overweight, while 59% were on a diet, despite their normal BMI.
While over 90% of teens struggling with eating disorders are girls, boys are also said to carry body image issues. Many even strive to achieve the perfect body by harsh diets or dangerous exercises.
So, what is an eating disorder?
Two common forms of eating disorders include bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. These psychological disorders are said to involve extreme disturbances as they find complex ways to lose weight followed by compulsive behavior.
Anorexia nervosa is said to affect nearly one in every one hundred girls a year. Those who suffer from anorexia have a fear of gaining weight as many are believed to be way below their ideal body size.
Research experts believe that many teenage girls are experiencing bulimia in secret. This often starts during the late teenage years all though the adult stages of adulthood. Those who suffer from bulimia go through intense cycles of eating large amount of foods, then force themselves to purge by vomiting, using diuretics, laxatives, or hours of aerobic exercise.
Causes of Eating Disorders
While there is no single cause due to an eating disorder, experts believe that that can be links to a combination of factors that include genetics, psychological problems, and family relationships. Today, teens are becoming more aware of their self-esteem and result to drastic measures of weight loss due to the media’s appraisal of thin bodies.
Extracurricular activities such as sports that include running, gymnastics, and ballet are also linked to the high cases of eating disorders in teens. Studies show that anorexia has a strong connection to obsession with perfectionism.
Symptoms of Eating Disorders
While most signs of eating disorders can be easily hidden, there are still signs that show the individual’s struggle with an eating disorder. This includes:
- Extreme weight chance
- Skipping meals
- Unusual eating habits
- Skin rashes or dry skin
- Erosion of tooth enaml
- Loss of hair
- Poor nail quality
Teens suffering from eating disorders are usually in denial of their actions as they may come off as depression, moody, or anxious. They may tend to withdraw from friends, keep things hidden, and often remain silent.
Treatment for Eating Disorders
While there is no cure-all treatment for disorders, they are still treatable. Teens suffering from eating disorders often receive a combination of treatments that include therapy and anti-depressant medications. Treatment also includes medical monitoring, nutritional feeding, and psychological treatment.
When eating disorders are left untreated, they and result in serious illnesses and even death. Those with low body weight can loss their menstrual periods, suffer from early bone loss, and even painful fractures. If you suspect someone you love has an eating disorder, be sure to talk with them and help them get the help they need.