Eating Disorders and Adolescents
Eating Disorders and Adolescents
Eating disorders are common among adolescent especially adolescent females. These days eating disorders range from some that cause weight loss to some that cause weight gain. There are underlying problems that cause children to have eating disorders. There are also signs to be aware of as a parent in order to seek treatment for the youth. Eating disorders are complicated and require extensive treatment once diagnosed. Youth with eating disorders need to learn how to live healthier and how to accept themselves for who they are.
The teenage years are a time of rapid growth and development. Children need to be taught proper nutrition when they are young so they are not afraid to eat and grow into young adults. When a child has an eating disorder they may be eating too little or eating too much. The child needs to learn how to eat nutritiously (to find a middle ground) in order for the youth to live a long and healthy life.
Many teenagers have eating disorders although not a majority of the population it is a growing epidemic. The two most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, where the child starves themselves in order to lose weight, and Bulimia Nervosa, where the teenager may eat a lot and then vomit or may eat a lot and then exercise to burn off the excess calories from their food. Teenagers want to be skinny so they can model, act, dance, or whatever else they want to do. A parenting tip is to take time to educate the child on consequences of being too skinny and the importance of eating healthy foods to watch one’s weight.
Some eating disorders cause a teenager to gain weight. The child may overeat and gain excessive weight. If a teenager has an eating disorder on either end of the spectrum they are potentially putting their life at risk.
Children develop eating disorders for a variety of reasons. One reason might be the awkwardness of growing so quickly which may result in low self-esteem or body image problems. Another reason is that teenagers look up to unhealthy role models. Adolescents want to be just as skinny as the model that starves herself to be that thin. In our society there are not a lot of healthy weight models or actors for teenagers to idolize and want to be like. Some teenage women starve themselves so they do not have to grow up, this means they put off getting their menses and can be a child for longer. Abnormal Psychology teaches that when a child controls their weight they may feel that life is out of control in other areas like at home or at school for example and this teenager feels they can at least have control over their body.
Parenting is never easy. If you notice that your child is losing weight or gaining weight at an abnormal rate, your child may need help. Parenting is about helping the child through difficult times. The child may need counseling to find out why they have an eating disorder. If counseling is not enough the child may need an inpatient program that looks at helping the youth eat healthy, look at themselves positively, and be happy with who they are even if they are not perfect.
For something lighter a funny post: Cartoon Medical Disorders