It’s ordinary for kids mostly teens to become concerned about how they look and to feel self-conscious about their weight. Throughout puberty, kids’ bodies are changing radically and they are facing new social pressures, like attraction to the opposite sex. Unfortunately, for a growing proportion of kids and teens, that concern grows into an obsession that causes dramatic weight changeability, interferes with usual daily life, and damages vital body functions. Up to 10 million teens develop eating disorders, abnormal attitudes and behaviors with foods, which include anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. For most kids, eating disorders begin when they are 11 to 13 years old. While they are more familiar among girls, boys can experience eating disorders too. Unfortunately, several kids and teens effectively hide these disorders from their families for months or years.

Furthermore, what does healthy eating mean to you? Chances are, you think of ways to cut back on certain foods and increase intake of better foods. For a person with an eating disorder, that means that each food will fall into one of two categories, “good” and “bad.” And that can lead to rigid thinking that helps to keep the eating disorder going. There are other ways of thinking (and eating) that aren’t based on success and failure. That’s good news for people interested in recovery.

Moreover, eating is controlled by numerous factors, including appetite, food accessibility, family, peer, and cultural practices, and attempts at voluntary control. Dieting to a body weight leaner than needed for health is extremely promoted by recent fashion trends, sales campaigns for special foods, and in several activities and professions. Eating disorders involve severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as tremendous and unhealthy decrease of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of anguish or extreme concern about body shape or weight. Researchers are investigating how and why originally voluntary behaviors such as eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, at some point move beyond control in several people and develop into an eating disorder. Studies on the basic biology of appetite control and its change by prolonged overeating or starvation have uncovered huge complexity, but in the long run have the potential to lead to new pharmacologic treatments for eating disorders.

Eating disorders are not due to a failure of will or behavior; rather, they are real, treatable medical illnesses in which certain maladaptive patterns of eating take on a life of their own. The major types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A third type, binge-eating disorder, has been suggested but has not yet been official as a formal psychiatric diagnosis. Eating disorders often develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but a few reports show their onset can occur through childhood or later in adulthood. Eating disorders often co-occur with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders. Also, people who suffer from eating disorders can experience a wide range of physical health complication, including severe heart conditions and kidney failure which might lead to death. Recognition of eating disorders as real and treatable diseases, thus, is seriously essential.

In addition, females are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Only an estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder are male. While eating disorders might begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most frequently about much more than food. Eating disorders are complex conditions that happen from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. Scientists and researchers are still learning about the original causes of these psychologically and physically damaging conditions. We do know, though, about several of the general issues that can add to the development of eating disorders.  People with eating disorders frequently use food and the control of food in an effort to recompense for feelings and emotions that might if not seem over-whelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging might begin as a means to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life, but eventually, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control

While eating disorders result from a severe mental and behavioral health condition, they can lead to other serious physical health problems. A child with anorexia or bulimia might experience dehydration also as other medical complications. In advanced stages, it can have an effect on the brain and cause symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, anxiety, confusion, failure to concentrate, and loss of memory. Anorexia might affect a child’s growth; bone mass, puberty delays, an uneven heartbeat and blood pressure problems, and gastrointestinal problems. The continuous vomiting involved in bulimia can cause tears and severe inflammation of the esophagus, in addition to gastric disturbances, blood pressure problems, and erosion of tooth enamel.

Behavioral problems, such as sexual promiscuity, crime often shoplifting, and drug and alcohol abuse are more ordinary in teens with bulimia. When kids with bulimia are caught up in a binge eating and purging cycle, they tend to become extremely spontaneous. They feel like they’re invisible, or just feel really impulsive and embarrassed to buy some of the things that they want.

In addition, the focus of treatment for eating disorders is helping kids deal with their disordered eating behaviors and thinking and establish new patterns of thinking about and approaching food. Treatment can include medical supervision, nutritional counseling, and therapy. The professionals attempt to address a child’s perception about his or her body size, shape, eating, and foods. Kids who are severely malnourished might need hospitalization and ongoing care after their medical condition is stabilized. The earlier the intervention, the shorter the treatment that’s required in treating eating disorder. If a parent can discover an eating disorder before malnutrition or continual binge-purge cycles occur, the duration of treatment is shorter.

Admitting there’s a problem and getting help is the first step to getting back to being healthy again. It’s main to take action as soon as possible. The person might see a doctor, a dietitian, and a counselor or therapist. Together, the team can help the person attain the goals of reaching a healthy weight, following a nutritious diet, and feeling good about himself or herself again.


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