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Teen Eating Disorder

Submitted By Sejal Zaveri Roll No: 58 FYBFM

Eating disorders are so common in America that 1 or 2 out of every 100 students will struggle with one. Each year, thousands of teens develop eating disorders, or problems with weight, eating, or body image. Eating disorders are more than just going on a diet to lose weight or trying to exercise every day. They're extremes in eating behaviour the diet that never ends and gradually gets more restrictive, for example. Or the person who can't go out with friends because he or she thinks it's more important to go running to work off a snack eaten earlier. In a culture where thinness is too often equated with physical attractiveness, success, and happiness, eating disorder treatment centre nearly everyone has dealt with issues regarding the effect their weight and body shape can have on their self-image. However, eating disorders are not about dieting or vanity; they're complex psychological disorders in which an individual's eating patterns are developed--and then habitually maintained--in an attempt to cope with other problems in their life. Most teenage girls and boys who suffer from an eating disorder usually are unhappy with themselves and their own performance in life.

With teenage girls, eating disorders may arise if they do not succeed in activities such as cheerleading or gymnastics, or if they do not seem to attract the attention of boys. Many girls believe that they cannot be beautiful unless they are thin, sometimes due to naturally thin girls that surround them both in real life and in fashion. For boys, causes may also result from sports that are weight orientated like wrestling.

Eating disorders affect millions of teens and young women worldwide and are more common in cultures that focus on weight loss and body image. Intense focus on thinness can lead to negative body image and unhealthy eating behaviours in young women. Sometimes, these unhealthy eating behaviours lead to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder or eating disorders not otherwise specified (ED-NOS). If you are reading this guide, perhaps you are worried about your health or the health of someone you know. This guide was created to help young women understand eating disorders, and realize that treatment and recovery are possible. There are four types of eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Binge eating disorder, and ED-NOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified). Young women with these disorders often have a negative and distorted body image, and intense emotions and behaviours surrounding food. The phrase "body image" means the thoughts and feelings people have about their physical appearance. Young women with eating disorders may start to eat less because they are afraid of gaining weight. Sometimes they binge (overeat, consuming very large quantities of food) and sometimes purge (by making themselves vomit, over-exercising, or using laxatives). Eating disorders affect a person's physical and emotional health. They are very dangerous illnesses and can be fatal if they are not treated.

Anorexia nervosa is an illness that involves having an extreme desire to be thin. The key elements of anorexia nervosa are: a refusal to keep body weight at a healthy level, an intense fear of being fat, a distorted body image. Many teens that have anorexia stop having their periods or dont get it on a regular schedule. People with anorexia have a real fear of weight gain and a distorted view of their body size and shape. As a result, they can't maintain a normal body weight.

Many teens with anorexia restrict their food intake by dieting, fasting, or excessive exercise. They hardly eat at all and the small amount of food they do eat becomes an obsession. Others with anorexia may start binge eating and purging eating a lot of food and then trying to get rid of the calories by forcing themselves to vomit, using laxatives, or exercising excessively, or some combination of these.

The Youngest Victims of Anorexia

Doctors around the country have seen an increasing number of young victims of anorexiasome as young as 8 years old. While this may represent increased parental awareness of eating disorders, it also reinforces current research that suggests a strong genetic component to the development of an eating disorder rather than simply environmental pressures. Most researchers now believe that eating disorders are the result of a complex combination of genes, brain chemistry, and environmental factors. Eating disorder in an older teen may be triggered by cultural pressure to be perfect and a desire to have control over one aspect of life, but anorexia in a very young child is less likely to be a result of such cultural pressure. And anorexia in a young child is more dangerous than in an older teen or adult. Young children's bodies are growing and developing at a fast rate. Heart and bone growth as well as brain growth and development is affected very quickly when calories are severely restricted. Young children don't respond the same way to treatment as older teens, either. Long hospital or treatment stays can be excessively traumatic, and these children may be too young for talk therapy to be effective. It's thought that young children benefit most when anorexia is treated as a life-threatening disease, such as cancer; the medicine used for treatment is food. Many successful eating disorder programs involve parents in monitoring food intake until the child can make healthy choices for herself.

Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa Physical

Dramatic weight loss Slow heart rate Low blood pressure Low body temperature Brittle hair and finger nails Hair loss Dry skin & dehydration Growth of lanugo (soft furry hair on face, back & arms) Slow or stunted growth.

Depression Anxiety or nervousness Distorted body image Intense fear of weight gain Low self-esteem Withdrawal from friends & activities Thinking about food most of the time

Bulimia is similar to anorexia. With bulimia, someone might binge eat (eat to excess) and then try to compensate in extreme ways, such as forced vomiting or excessive exercise, to prevent weight gain. Over time, these steps can be dangerous both physically and emotionally. They can also lead to compulsive behaviors (ones that are hard to stop). To be diagnosed with bulimia, a person must be binging and purging regularly, at least twice a week for a couple of months. Binge eating is different from going to a party and "pigging out" on pizza, then deciding to go to the gym the next day and eat more healthfully. People with bulimia eat a large amount of food (often junk food) at once, usually in secret. Sometimes they eat food that is not cooked or might be still frozen, or retrieve food from the trash. They typically feel powerless to stop the eating and can only stop once they're too full to eat any more. Most people with bulimia then purge by vomiting, but may also use laxatives or excessive exercise. Although anorexia and bulimia are very similar, people with anorexia are usually very thin and underweight but those with bulimia may be a normal weight or can be overweight.

Binge Eating Disorder

This eating disorder is similar to anorexia and bulimia because a person binges regularly on food (more than three times a week). But, unlike the other eating disorders, a person with binge eating disorder does not try to "compensate" by purging the food. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder all involve unhealthy eating patterns that begin gradually and build to the point where a person feels unable to control them. Binge eating disorder, or compulsive eating disorder, involves eating large amounts of food in short periods of time without purging. Often, people with binge eating disorder will skip meals or eat small portions when they are around others and then eat large amounts when they are alone. Young women with binge eating disorder often suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness, shame and/or self-hatred. Their body weight can vary from normal to obese.

Signs of Anorexia and Bulimia

Sometimes a person with anorexia or bulimia starts out just trying to lose some weight or hoping to get in shape. But the urge to eat less or to purge or over-exercise gets "addictive" and becomes too hard to stop. Teens with anorexia or bulimia often feel intense fear of being fat or think that they're fat when they are not. Those with anorexia may weigh food before eating it or compulsively count the calories of everything. People to whom this seems "normal" or "cool" or who wish that others would leave them alone so they can just diet and be thin might have a serious problem. How do you know for sure that someone is struggling with anorexia or bulimia? You can't tell just by looking a person who loses a lot of weight might have another health condition or could be losing weight through healthy eating and exercise.

But there are some signs to watch for that might indicate a person has anorexia or bulimia. Someone with anorexia might: become very thin, frail, or emaciated be obsessed with eating, food, and weight control weigh herself or himself repeatedly deliberately "water load" when going to see a health professional to get weighed count or portion food carefully only eat certain foods, avoiding foods like dairy, meat, wheat, etc. (of course, lots of people who are allergic to a particular food or are vegetarians avoid certain foods) exercise excessively feel fat withdraw from social activities, especially meals and celebrations involving food be depressed, lethargic (lacking in energy), and feel cold a lot Someone with bulimia might:

fear weight gain be intensely unhappy with body size, shape, and weight make excuses to go to the bathroom immediately after meals only eat diet or low-fat foods (except during binges) regularly buy laxatives, diuretics, or enemas spend most of his or her time working out or trying to work off calories withdraw from social activities, especially meals and celebrations involving food

What is EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified)?

EDNOS is short for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. People with EDNOS have some, but not all, of the symptoms of either anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. For example, young women struggling with EDNOS may have periods of restrictive eating (days or months) followed by periods of overeating or binge eating, or they may be at a very low weight, but not have anorexia because they still get their menstrual period. Young women with EDNOS may also maintain a stable weight that is within a medically safe range, but still have many of the other symptoms and medical complications of eating disorders.

What causes eating disorders?

There are many different theories regarding the causes of eating disorders. Eating disorders are likely caused by a combination of social, psychological, family, genetic, and environmental factors. Societys intense focus on thinness and appearance influences how young women view their bodies and their self-esteem. While this focus may not cause eating disorders, it can contribute to their development. An individual may have a family history of emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety. Eating disorders are often associated with feelings of helplessness, sadness, anxiety, and the need to be perfect. This can cause a person to use dieting or weight loss to provide a sense of control. Teens who participate in competitive sports that emphasize thinness or artistic activities, such as ballet, running, gymnastics, or skating, are more likely to develop an eating disorder. Family stress of any kind can also contribute to the development of these illnesses. Dealing with difficult transitions, loss, or teasing about weight from friends or family may trigger eating disorders.

No one is really sure what causes eating disorders, although there are many theories about it. Many people who develop an eating disorder are between 13 and 17 years old. This is a time of emotional and physical changes, academic pressures, and a greater degree of peer pressure. Although there is a sense of greater independence during the teen years, teens might feel that they are not in control of their personal freedom and, sometimes, of their bodies. This can be especially true during puberty. For girls, even though it's completely normal (and necessary) to gain some additional body fat during puberty, some respond to this change by becoming very fearful of their new weight. They might mistakenly feel compelled to get rid of it any way they can. When you combine the pressure to be like celebrity role models with the fact that bodies grow and change during puberty, it's not hard to see why some teens develop a negative view of themselves. Celebrity teens and athletes conform to the "Hollywood ideal" girls are petite and skinny, and guys are athletic and muscular, and these body types are popular not only in Hollywood but also in high school. Many people with eating disorders also can be depressed or anxious, or have other mental health problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There is also evidence that eating disorders may run in families. Although part of this may be genetics, it's also because we learn our values and behaviours from our families.

Sports and Eating Disorders

Athletes and dancers are particularly vulnerable to developing eating disorders around the time of puberty, as they may want to stop or suppress growth (both height and weight). Coaches, family members, and others may encourage teens in certain sports such as gymnastics, ice skating, and ballet to be as thin as possible. Some athletes and runners are also encouraged to weigh less or shed body fat at a time when they are biologically destined to gain it. What do I do if I think my friend has an eating disorder? It can be hard to talk to a friend who you think has an eating disorder. People who have eating disorders are often in denial and do not want to talk about their problems. They may get defensive or upset with the people in their lives who try to get them help. Do not let these reactions prevent you from trying to help someone you care about. Remember, you can make a difference by helping a friend face her illness and her get treatment. Many people who get treatment for anorexia or bulimia are able to do so because of the support from others in their lives. It is often very hard for people with this illness to make a phone call or come in for their appointments. They often need friends and family to take the first steps for them. Before talking to your friend, think about how to approach her. If you feel that you can't approach her yourself, share the information with a trusted adult and have them get help for your friend.

You may want to talk with someone first such as an adult or another friend to find out more information, as it is helpful to have names and numbers of eating disorder resources (see Related Links below) to give your friend so she can take the steps to get help. You may need to give your friend some time after you confront her about your concerns. Do not expect that she will immediately be able to understand you or accept help right away. Dealing with eating disorders can be challenging and may take a long time. Being honest and patient with your friend will make it easier for you to support her. But most importantly, remember to tell an adult such as a parent or teacher if you are worried about a friend.

Treatment for Eating Disorders

Fortunately, eating disorders can be treated. People with eating disorders can get well and gradually learn to eat well and more like their family and friends again. Eating disorders involve both the mind and body. So medical doctors, mental health professionals, and dieticians will often be involved in a person's treatment and recovery. Eating disorders are medical and psychological problems. Treatment usually includes working with a team of specialists: a therapist, a nutritionist, and a doctor or nurse practitioner. Treatment is individualized to fit a teen's specific needs.

Therapy or counselling is a very important part of getting better in many cases, family therapy is one of the keys to eating healthily again. Parents and other family members are important in supporting people who have to regain weight that they are afraid of, or to learn to accept the body shape that their culture, genes, and lifestyle allows for. If you want to talk to someone about eating disorders but are unable or not ready to talk to a parent or close family member, try reaching out to a friend, teacher, school nurse or counsellor, coach, neighbour, your doctor, or another trusted adult. Remember that eating disorders are very common among teens. Treatment options depend on each person and their families, but many treatments incorporate journaling, talking to therapists, and working with dieticians and other professionals. Learning to be comfortable at your healthy weight is a process. It takes time to unlearn some behaviour and relearn others. Be patient, you can learn to like your body, understand your eating behaviours, and figure out the relationship between feelings and eating all the tools you need to feel in control and to like and accept yourself for who you are.

What does a therapist do to treat an eating disorder?

The goals for a young woman with an eating disorder are to improve her body image and self-esteem and to address other emotional issues. If you have an eating disorder, you may discover that you have other problems in your life such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or substance abuse. You may explore feelings of sadness, anxiety, or anger with your therapist. Therapy provides the time and space where you can confidentially discuss your needs, your goals, and your understanding of the eating problem. Therapy helps to explore eating disordered thinking and behaviors and learn strategies to become healthy. Families often need a therapist or a group for support and education surrounding eating problems. Family therapy can be an important part of getting well if family tensions, difficult relationships, or poor communication exist. In the family treatment meeting, the family members can talk about problems and work on solutions and coping skills with the help and guidance of a trained therapist. Group therapy can also be an effective treatment option. Many people find that talking with other people who have had an eating disorder is helpful, because they can share stories, feelings and coping strategies