Eating disorders can affect people of all ages. However, they are frequently reported in young individuals and generally start in adolescence or early twenties. Types of eating disorders differ, but they all have practically the same underlying causes.
What Causes Eating Disorders in Young People?
Adolescence is a very traumatic period for each and every person, full of stress and difficult situations. Adolescents simply cannot cope with stress or deal adequately with a variety of seemingly unsolvable problems. Additionally, they believe that if they are pretty and thin, the life will be much easier for them. Being fit and slim is adolescent's utmost goal. As a result of all the mentioned, teenagers start to develop abnormalities regarding food consumption.
It is confirmed that depression, a lack of self-esteem, problems in personal and family relationships, domestic violence and physical abuse as well as worries about personal appearance all influence the onset of eating disorders in adolescents as well.
Eating Disorders Young People Suffer from
Anorexia nervosa is frequently reported eating disorder among adolescents. The affected individuals refuse to eat or they consume abnormally small quantities of food because of irrational fear they will gain weight. What is more, they simple do not perceive how skinny they actually are and commonly refer to themselves as fat. Apart from not eating enough such patients also tend to exercise excessively. The condition may be fatal once the weight loss is severe and patients many times end up in a hospital because of their unhealthy dietary regimes.
Bulimia is also reported to affect adolescents. It is characterized by excessive food consumption followed by intake of laxative and stimulated purging, both of which eliminate some of the consumed food. There may be sigh weight loss, but patients predominantly keep their weight or gain a bit more. However, repeated overeating and purging may cause damage to one's teeth, esophagus and throat as well as heath in general.
Finally, there is one more eating disorder affecting young individuals called binge eating. It is characterized by consuming large amounts of food even when the person does not actually feel hungry. Binge eating episodes are associated with stress, trauma of any kind of negative moods. How to Help?
The first thing is to recognize eating disorder and immediately take the child to his/her doctor. Treatment is created depending on the eating disorder and the overall health of the child. Apart from general practitioner or pediatrician there are many other medical and non-medical professionals who engage in treatment including psychologist, psychiatrists, social workers etc. The most severe cases of eating disorders are treated in hospital environment.