Eating disorders in teens

How eating disorders are presented in teens


Anorexia nervosa is the deadliest mental illness. The risk of death due to anorexia is more than double the death rate of schizophrenia, almost triple the rate of bipolar disorder, and more than triple the rate of death due to depression. Eating Disorders are a very common mental illness that is not widely researched.

Eating disorders are presented in many different forms. Eating disorders are not the same for each person, especially teenagers. Eating disorders can occur at any point in time but on average teens are more likely to develop the issue.

“Biological females often undergo change before biological males, and females often acquire more body fat and water weight, as the body prepares to bear children,” said author Ai Pono in an article entitled “Teens and Eating Disorders: Signs, Causes, and Treatments for the Next Generation.”   “Because the change is so sudden and drastic, young people may feel uncomfortable in their bodies, and become hyper aware of this.”

Women with eating disorders are more researched and observed than men. There is no one reason why this is. Some think it is because men are held to different societal standards, some say it’s because men are embarrassed because they are told to not express emotions.

“For deaths due to anorexia, one in five is from suicide,” said Barbara Spanjers, an author from Center for Discovery Eating Disorder Treatment.

When hearing about suicide people do not usually advertise the cause. If eating disorders were more widely talked about and covered people would learn the real life, long term effects. Most of the time there is no one cause for an eating disorder, but it can, in some causes,be boiled down to a few reasons.

From a poll taken at Norwin High School one student said: “When school started it got really bad. I always make myself feel sick after eating and telling myself if you eat this you’ll get sick. I struggle eating just a little bit at lunch due to my eating disorder. It also stemmed from anxiety. My anxiety about school got so bad about school that I stopped eating and that became an eating disorder.”

Many people who experience issues with eating tell themselves that they are not good enough to eat or they will fall ill. This is due to a restricted eating disorder or anorexia nervosa.

“A lack of interest in eating or food or avoidance of food based on the specific characteristics of it,” said ‘Ai Pono, Hawaii author.  “An individual is typically overly or inappropriately concerned about the consequences of eating, resulting in a failure to meet nutritional and/or energy needs.”

Anorexia is the most recognized eating disorder of all, some even include restrictive eating disorder and orthorexia with anorexia. Although all three are very similar some key distinctions are able to be made. Othorexia tends to present itself as an anxiety disorder.

“Compulsive checking of ingredient lists and nutritional labels and an increased concern about the nutritional content of foods,” found in Center for Discovery Eating Disorder Treatment. “Spending excessive time thinking about what food might be available at upcoming

Avoidant/Restrictive eating disorders are often confused and misconstrued as “picky eating”.

“Spending excessive time thinking about what food might be available at upcoming events,” according to ‘Ai Pono Hawaii “Ceasing consumption of entire food groups (all sugar, all carbs, all dairy, all meat, all animal products).”

On the opposing side, binge eating disorder occurs when a person will eat, eat, eat, and continue to eat until they make themselves physically ill.

“Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting,” stated by ‘Ai Pono Hawaii, “Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.”

Traditionally, when hearing or researching eating disorders the first pieces of information that appear are women with anorexia. Men do not seem to have much research that revolves only around them.

“Men do not get the research or coverage that they need because they are made out to be emotionless and cold to their feelings,” said a Norwin High School student, “when guys complain about their feelings they are told to ‘man up’ or ‘don’t be a baby’ which only enables them.”

Men need to be just as recognized and treated the same as women when it comes to mental and physical health. Men need to be advocated for as well.

Eating disorders all present themselves differently and should all be taken with the same precautions.