Eating disorder also known as anorexia is a behavioral eating disorder that often occurs as a result of an extreme restriction on calorie intake. These include a variety of clinical features, the most common are anorexia nervosa (AN), binge eating/vomiting, bulimia nervosa (BN), a nocturnal eating disorder, and obesity with psychiatric illness.
The eating habits of young people have changed fundamentally over the past 30 years. Increased mobility and relative independence mean fewer family meals together. Parents are eating less and less at home, and are losing control over what, when, with whom, and how much their growing children eat. A girl over 12 years old rarely eats three meals a day. Overall, they eat frequently, but often in the form of fast food or snacks. As a result, one in ten female teenagers is malnourished.
Which Eating Disorders Are Common?
The most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge nervosa. Girls and young women are affected many times more often. It is also becoming clear that those affected are getting younger and younger, and the disease often begins in late childhood. The number of people who suffer from bulimia is significantly higher than from anorexia.
Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge: What Is The Difference?
🔹 Anorexia: This is a mental eating disorder that is common among eating disorders, it should be noted that if this type of eating disorder is left unattended to, it could lead to severe underweight as a result of reduced food intake. Fear of gaining weight is offset by excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, and taking medications such as appetite suppressants, diuretics, and laxatives.
🔹 Bulimia Nervosa: This involves an appetite for eating large amounts of food over a very short period of time. Here, too, the fear of gaining too much weight plays a big role and is countered by exercise, vomiting, and drug therapy. There is often a history of anorexia nervosa. The disease is difficult to recognize in everyday life because affected individuals are usually of normal weight or overweight.
🔹 Binge: This is another peculiar type of eating disorder that is common. Affected individuals consume huge amounts of food in a very short period of time, thereby losing complete control and feeling of fullness. The reactional effect of this usually occurs when the victim is alone and is accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.
Eating Disorder Signs And Symptoms
Eating disorders present various forms of signs and symptoms in affected individuals, a major problem here is that most of these signs are often unnoticed. It is more important that the family and social environment support young people with care and attention.
Parents should be aware of the following:
- Significant weight loss
- Unusually frequent weighing behavior
- Reduced opportunities to eat and drink with increasing restriction
- Intense cooking for family and refraining from these meals at the same time
- Dissatisfaction with one’s diet
- Absence of menstruation
- Desire to do a lot of sports
- Long stay in the bathroom or toilet after meal
- Choking noises.
Does Social Media Influence The Development Of Eating Disorders?
The current exaggerated thin ideals on social media pose a major challenge to children and young people in our society. However, the development of eating disorders is usually not due to the presence of a single risk factor.
Science assumes that eating disorder results from multifactorial factors. In addition to biological factors, personality traits, family, social factors, and often stressful life events come into play.
Eating Disorder Treatments For Children And Adolescents
This includes medical intervention, internal medicine intervention, and psychological therapy. The content is about gradually normalizing weight and eating behavior. At the same time, individual disease models are developed to create therapeutic approaches. In addition to talk therapy offers, patients can also receive offers for exercise therapy and creative therapy. These can be done as individual or group therapy. Treatment also includes a family referral system.
It is thereby encouraged that parents should pay serious attention to their children’s eating styles and seek prompt medical attention if their child experiences significant signs of an eating disorder.
Pediatricians, practicing child and adolescent psychiatry outpatient clinics, and care centers are the points of contact for parents to ensure that help is readily available. Consultants and preliminary meetings may be held at specialized clinics and wards. Contact your pediatrician or family doctor who will direct you to the facilities listed above.
Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are complex mental health issues that can severely impact teens. Warning signs include extreme weight loss or gain, obsession with food, distorted body image, strict dieting, compulsive exercise, and isolation. If these behaviors are noticed, compassionate intervention is crucial. With professional treatment, support from loved ones, and commitment to recovery, those struggling can regain their health and their lives.