What are some symptoms and factors of an eating disorder in kids and teens? There are many factors of an eating disorder, but some of the most common are stress and trauma, not fitting the media norms, and depression. An eating disorder is described as an illness that is characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape. There three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. All three have symptoms and characteristics that can be described and seen to catch an eating disorder early on.
The most common eating disorder is anorexia nervosa which affects women more than men. Its most common in teens ages 13-19. Some people may experience dehydration, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, low blood pressure, low body temperature, osteoporosis, water-electrolyte imbalance, or feeling cold. There may also be mood swings, anxiety, and guilt. They may also be underweight. They tend to binge eat and then make themselves throw up. People with this eating disorder can ruin the lining of your stomach and the enamel of your teeth from throwing up. It’s dangerous and unhealthy for the body.
Lady Gaga or Stefani Joanne has a website called Little Monsters on which she has opened up about struggling with anorexia and bulimia since she was 15. She’s posted photos of her weight loss and gain. Her Born This Way foundation connects young people with resources to help with body image, bullying, as well drug and alcohol issues. Gaga has said to anyone struggling with body image issues, “It’s really hard, but … you’ve got to talk to somebody about it.”
Singer Alanis Morissette also struggled with anorexia which she talked about in women’s health magazine. She struggled with anorexia when she was first trying to break into the music industry, with all eyes on her she felt pressured to have the perfect body. ‘The big question for me around eating-disorder recovery is, ‘What is sobriety with food?” That’s how she looks at her eating disorder. It’s a food addiction that harms her, however she does yoga, meditation, and journals as some of the things that keep her in a healthy space.
Bulimia nervosa is the second most common eating disorder also affects women more than men. It’s most common in teens and young adults ages 13-22. Bulimia os defined as an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting. Bulimia is potentially life threatening which is why you should look for signs including misuse of laxatives, disturbance from your body image, feeling guilty or shameful by eating, habitually going to the bathroom after eating, or swollen salivary glands (chipmunk cheeks).
In a book called “Wasted A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia” the author says “All of a sudden, I was a mess. It’s quite possible that I had some pre existing depression and/or anxiety disorder and/or mania, and the confusion simply gave it a chance to surface. And it did surface. Almost immediately upon our arrival, I developed an acute, bizarre fear of everything. I was a walking bundle of anxiety, crying easily and afraid of the dark, the kids at school, the teachers, the sun, the moon, the stars. I got it in my head that prayer would work. I began to pray constantly, frantically, as I peered around me to see
if anyone was watching. I dropped to my knees, pressing my nails into the palms of my hands, praying boldly for God to forgive me, muttering manic prayers that would’ve made little sense to any god:
Please God I’m sorry don’t let me get fat I’m sorry forgive me Father for I have sinned bless my mother and my father and the dog and my friends and I’m sorry and thank you for books and forgive me
and don’t let me get fat I’m sorry I watered my plant with 7UP—.” This was said about her bulimia that started when her family moved in her teen years, when she saw the girls at her school she didn’t feel good about herself.
Russell Brand has spoken out about having bulimia and drug problems growing up. He has talked about feeling uncomfortable in his body being in the limelight from a young age, which is where his eating disorder began. Eating disorders are more commonly found in women than in men however, around 10 million men are thought to have eating disorders in the United States. He now speaks about sobriety and veganism, he has also helped raise money for drug addiction recovery programs. Brand says, “It was really unusual in boys, quite embarrassing. But I found it euphoric.”
Princess Diana of Wales has spoken out about having bulimia and self harm. In a speech she said, “I am certain the ultimate solution lies within the individual. But, with the help and patient nurturing given by professionals, family and friends, people suffering eating disorders can find a better way of coping with their lives.” Princess Diana speaking out about her eating disorder has helped others speak out and open up about their own eating disorders and mental health. She has also been a social Justice warrior who has helped increase awareness and understanding about bulimia and anorexia. She has been a huge influence in helping others recover.
The third most common eating disorder is binge eating disorder which is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating. Yes sometimes everyone over eats, like having seconds, thirds, sometimes even fourths at Thanksgiving or Christmas. However, those with binge eating disorder can not control themself and always overeat. Common signs of binge eating disorder are eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as over a two-hour period, feeling your eating behavior is out of control, eating despite being full or not hungry, and frequently eating alone or in secret. Binge eating is common in all ages of people, but most common in people in their thirties and forties, or people who have lost a loved one such as a spouse or parent and don’t know how to properly deal with grief.
Janet Jackson struggled with binge eating disorder, she spoke about it in an interview with Telegraph. “I can eat to fill the void. Food has always brought me comfort and the bingeing is triggered when I’m in a space that is not positive … When I’m feeling down on myself or not feeling good about who I am, or maybe something happened and I’m feeling depressed, I eat to fill that void. Afterwards I’ll beat myself up about it. I regret doing it, but I’ll turn around and do it again.’ She was able to use food as an escape from the world. Since then she has gotten help and recovered and tells people that its okay to speak up.
Research shows that 70% of people who seek help stop binging. Talk to your doctor and your family, build up a good support system. Then you begin treatment. Treatment will involve intensive therapy, and possibly hospitalization. Most people work out in order to lose the weight they gained from binge eating. Sometimes antidepressants are prescribed because depression is often a symptom of binge eating disorder. Most importantly don’t focus on your weight or go on a diet. Doing so raises the chances that you’ll binge. That’s because cutting back on calories or avoiding certain foods makes you feel deprived. Those feelings might make you want to overeat. Just focus on teaching yourself to eat a healthy and normal amount of food you can get on a diet and exercise when your healthy.