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Teenage Girls with Eating Disorders More Likely to Develop Drug Abuse and Mental Health Problems

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Experts are concerned with the growing number of teenage girls who display early signs and symptoms of anorexia and bulimia. The majority of these girls have a higher risk of developing a drug addiction, mental illness and even a higher rate of abortions.

Study

A study performed in Melbourne one in ten teenage girls (average age 15 to 17) display signs of a serious eating disorder whether it is anorexia or bulimia. Experts feel this number is incorrect and even higher due to the fact that many teenage girls are in denial about having an eating disorder and the other percentage is due to the girls being misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. When diagnosing an eating disorder there are four “symptoms” that doctors look for and if a teenage girl only has two of the four symptoms she is said NOT to have an eating disorder when in fact she does. When it comes to eating disorders two symptoms is enough to raise concern and diagnose an eating disorder before it gets any worse.

Drug Abuse

Many of these teenage girls turn to drugs sometimes it is during their eating disorder struggle or as a young adult. Experts claim these teenage girls are twice as likely to develop a drug abuse problem however; they did not give any reason why.

Mental Illnesses

For some of these teenage girls by the time they reach their early 20’s they will be diagnosed with depression and severe anxiety. Usually the anxiety is generalized anxiety disorder.

Pregnancy & Termination

In addition, about thirty percent of these girls will also become pregnant or terminate a pregnancy by their early 20’s. These teenage girls were surveyed and all admitted to being sexually active before they turned 16 years old.

Conclusion

Experts show a great deal of concern for these girls. Many if not all of them left school before they graduated. The girls have problems that are going unrecognized or untreated by the medical community.

Source: British Journal of Psychiatry