Teenage Eating Disorders
Eating disorders typically occur as a result of a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual factors. The only thing that sufferers have in common is a history of dieting. About 5 million Americans suffer from some type of eating disorder, such as Anorexia, Bulimia or Bine Eating. About 95 percent of sufferers are female, and teenagers are especially vulnerable due to stress, relationship problems, biological predispositions and emotional disturbances.
How An Eating Disorder Starts
Eating disorders typically begin while a person is trying to deal with a major problem that affects them, such as the death of someone close, divorce or upset in the family, joining a new school, and so on. Sufferers typically experience feelings of low self-esteem, depression and a sense that things are “out of control.” The eating disorder represents their attempt to regain control and raise their self-esteem.
Who Gets An Eating Disorder?
The typical sufferer is bright, energetic, attractive, conscientious and hard-working. Many sufferers have excellent powers of self expression, and will persuasively deny that they have an eating disorder.
Anorexia Nervosa affects about 1 percent of people aged 10-20 years, mostly teenage girls. 75 percent of anorexics do not have a history of being overweight. Bulimia nervosa typically develops in the late teens, mostly in girls. 50 percent of bulimics have suffered from anorexia. Experts estimate that as many as 10 percent of all women are affected by this eating disorder. Binge Eating disorder happens at any age, but episodes are not uncommon in late teens. Most binge eaters are overweight or obese. Adult binge eaters may have obesity-related conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes.
If You Think You Have An Eating Disorder
Anyone with an eating disorder needs professional medical help. If you think you suffer from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, please seek confidential help from your doctor or local medical center. Ask for an eating disorder referral. The good news is, treatment of eating disorders is now handled in a non-threatening, caring and non-judgmental way, so please take advantage of the support services that are available. It will definitely benefit your health.
If you Know Someone With An Eating Disorder
Do not try to help them yourself, even if the sufferer is family. Instead, help the person obtain the professional help they need. Meantime, don’t be judgmental, don’t try to control or “persuade” the person to change, but don’t ignore the problem either. Chances are, it’s only going to get worse.