Eating disorders in adolescents are widespread and dangerous. Peer pressure and the media play important roles in encouraging teens to aspire to attain a certain body image. And many young people with eating disorders do not live a happy or long life.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are both expressions of this obsession to conform to the vision of a thin body image. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an extreme diet in which very little food is consumed. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by occasions of extreme consumption of food followed by depression and self-induced vomiting to eliminate the food in the stomach and often over-exercising to reduce the effect of consumption.
The results of both of these eating disorders are similar. The main problem is that essential nutrients are not being provided to the body. Neither macro-nutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fats, nor micro-nutrients including vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Practically any disease you can think of can result from lack of nutrients.
Common symptoms in people with eating disorders include fatigue and lack of energy, dizziness, constipation, loss of menstruation in females, low testosterone in males. More severe medical conditions can result such as irregular heartbeat, loss of muscle and bone mass, liver and kidney damage, electrolyte imbalances, cardiac arrest, and death. Because bulimia involves induced vomiting, stomach acids damage teeth and the esophagus.
When treated in time, young people can avoid most of the long term health complications.
The Perfect Image – A documentary on eating disorders
In addition to normal media such as TV and magazines, the Internet provided troubled adolescents with websites that support anorexia. Some of these sites are run by teens who are seeking support for their obsession with body fat and thus, their eating disorder. These pro-ana sites give eating tips, peer support, and other tips for continuing the anorexic and bulimic lifestyle.
For many teens with eating disorders, a stay in a clinic that specialized in treating adolescents is helpful. With proper counseling, associating with other adolescents who are undergoing treatment and an enforced eating schedule many young people can regain a normal self-esteem and learn a new way of life. The earlier an eating disorder is recognized, the more rapid and long-lasting will be the return to healthy eating habits.
Anorexia Nervosa: Being Too Thin – An Inside Story [ BBC FULL DOCUMENTARY]
Eating disorders in adolescents are too often life threatening. It usually requires intervention to restore a teen to health. Getting proper nutrition is a choice and a habit. The habit of health can be developed by anyone, even adolescents with eating disorders.