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    Eating Disorders in Teens

    By Darlene Zagata     

    Appearance can be everything to teenage girls. They can become obsessed with body image. When they look in the mirror they see an undesirable reflection gazing back at them. Even though they may be slender and attractive they see a different image when they stand before a mirror. They view themselves as overweight yet they are rail thin. In their minds they are convinced that they are obese and need to diet.

    There are two primary eating disorders that affect many teens and young adults. Anorexia nervosa is one of those disorders. It is an eating disorder but also a psychological condition because the girl perceives herself as being obese and will refrain from eating in order to diet and lose weight. It is a self-constructed image that she believes to be true. When she does eat, she eats very little. In fact, those suffering from anorexia nervosa may not eat enough to sustain and maintain proper health, often bordering on malnutrition. Their obsession to be excessively thin can lead to a variety of health problems including dehydration, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and perhaps eventual hospitalization.

    Anorexia nervosa can affect anyone but often those who suffer from this disorder are high achievers and perfectionists but they may also suffer from low self-esteem. Teens with this disorder may be shy or withdrawn and peer pressure may propel them forward in their quest for the perfect body image as a means to fit in and be accepted. Many may suffer from depression. Although the physical body can be treated, the anorexic requires psychological treatment for the underlying emotional cause of her distorted body image. Anorexia nervosa is a serious disorder and can lead to serious illness if left untreated.

    Bulimia is another eating disorder that may or may not accompany anorexia nervosa. Those that suffer from bulimia tend to gorge themselves on food and then force themselves to vomit. They may also take laxatives as a means to purge their bodies. Like anorexia nervosa, bulimia often affects teens and young adults. Bulimia is also directly related to an underlying emotional cause. Those who suffer from bulimia may also experience depression. They may turn to food as a source of comfort and then feel guilty after they binge, which then leads them to vomit in order to eliminate the food they consumed.

    As with anorexia nervosa, bulimia must also be treated with psychological counseling to get to the root of the problem. If you suspect your daughter or a loved one may suffer from an eating disorder, seek help immediately. Often they will not realize that anything is wrong with them. Victims of eating disorders need reassurance, self-confidence and acceptance. Let them know they are beautiful just the way they are.

    Written by Darlene ZagataRate this article:

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