Eating Disorders In Children and Teens
Children and teenagers can suffer from eating disorders. In some cases, the experience can be fatal for this age group because their bodies are still developing and can be severely damaged.
Children and teens with anorexia have a distorted body image, view themselves as overweight or obese, and are obsessed with being thin. They often refuse to maintain a normal weight. One out of 25 woman and girls have anorexia in their lifetime, but generally will never admit to it.
Symptoms of anorexia in children and teenagers include unusual interest in food, strange eating habits, rapid weight lost, infrequent menstruation in women, intense fear of becoming overweight and depression.
Because children and teenagers do not have fully developed bodies, there are a number of ways anorexia can damage the body. This damage can include thinning bones, sensitivity to cold and other damage to major organs like the brain or heart.
Bulimic children or teenagers fear weight gain and feel unhappy with their bodies. They eat too much food in a short amount of time, often feel a sense of lost control, feel disgusted for overeating and prevent weight by inducing vomiting. This can also be performed by diet pills, laxatives, diuretics and enemas. When bulimic children and teenagers purge their food, they feel relieved.
The health risks for bulimia are extremely harmful. These risks include abusing drugs or alcohol, scarred knuckles, damage to tooth enamel, inflammation of the esophagus and swelling of the salivary glands in the cheeks.
Binge eating in children and teens is similar to bulimia, but includes eating large amounts of food in a short period of time. As a result, they tend to become overweight. Binge eaters generally do not have a healthy control on their emotions and eat to avoid feeling anything intensely, which is why many adolescents experiencing puberty begin binge eating.
Health risks of binge eating include heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even type 3 diabetes.