Eating disorders come about in a variety of ways: stress, a desire to exert control of an aspect of one's life, low self-esteem, desire for acceptance, and many other reasons exist. Teenagers are particularly at risk, as the teenage years are tough, what with school and activities, trying to fit in and be popular, and trying to find one's place in the world. Add into that the hormones of the age, and it's no wonder than so many teens develop an eating disorder.
According to co-authors Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Michael F. Roizen, and Dr. Ellen Rome of YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life, some signs that may point to an eating disorder include
- Unreasonable concern about a specific body part
- Eating rituals that are new or different
- A change in posture or clothing style
- A desire to be alone, particularly while eating or immediately after, or secrecy in eating and exercise habits
- Becoming increasingly self-concious
- Negative comments about oneself's and looks
- Dramatic weight loss or fluctuations
There are many more potential signs of an eating disorder, and while this list is by no means exhaustive, someone with an eating disorder may exhibit, some, all, or possibly even none of these signs. But if you or someone you know has or might have an eating disorder, seek help and let them know that you're there for them. And most importantly, make sure the affected party gets treatment! Eating disorders can be fatal--without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to 2-3%.
For more information on eating disorders, please visit the section "Eating Disorders" at Kid's Health. If you or someone you know may need treatment for an eating disorder, please visit the Mirasol Eating Disorder Treatment Center website.
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