Eating disorders in teens
Eating disorders are a problem that many teens face at some point in their adolescence. Eating disorders are often caused by the notion that the teen must lose weight at any cost, and after a time, eating disorders can morph into a full-on emotional disorder requiring serious professional help.
Two eating disorders that are crippling teens of all ages and genders are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is defined as excessive weight loss and an illogical fear of gaining weight combined with a distorted body perception. Bulimia is a similar illness in which teens binge uncontrollably on a large amount of food and then purge what they’ve just eaten, either by vomiting or by laxatives and excessive exercise. Bulimia can cause serious stomach and dental problems that can lead to a lifetime of health issues like infertility, peptic ulcers, and worse.
Spotting potential problems
These eating disorders generally arise with self-deprecation and depression, and they can create a debilitating and long-lasting self-consciousness. Teens with eating disorders will likely have a battle with food for the remainder of their lives, but the earlier the disorder is caught, the easier it will be to treat. Teens with eating disorders need to be helped and supported by friends and family (never ridiculed!) as soon as the problem is discovered.
Many people often struggle with eating disorders for a long period of time without anyone taking notice, so pay attention to those in your life, and take note of your friends’ eating habits. Are they actually eating, or are they playing with their food and then throwing it away? Do they frequently visit the restroom immediately after eating a large amount of food? If you suspect that your friend of family member’s eating habits could be indicative of an eating disorder, it’s important that you seek help immediately.
One source of help for eating disorders and other mental health problems faced by today’s teens is a therapeutic boarding school. Therapeutic boarding schools have a long history of helping troubled teens get back on their feet through a well-honed combination of individualized education, discipline and reward.