February 26-March 3, 2012 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. (NEDA)
The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses – not choices – and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.
Watch the video on the sidebar.
Teens especially can become very self conscience of their body image and it is an issue parents need to recognize early.
What causes eating disorders in teenagers?
There is no one cause of an eating disorder. Experts link eating disorders to a combination of factors, such as family relationships, psychological problems, and genetics. The teen may have low self-esteem and be preoccupied with having a thin body.
Symptoms of eating disorders may include the following:
- A distorted body image
- Skipping most meals
- Unusual eating habits (such as eating thousands of calories at one meal or skipping meals)
- Frequent weighing
- Extreme weight change
- Skin rash or dry skin
- Dental cavities
- Erosion of tooth enamel
- Loss of hair or nail quality
- Hyperactivity and high interest in exercise
Teens with eating disorders are often in denial that anything is wrong. They may be moody, anxious, depressed. They may withdraw from friends, and become overly sensitive to criticism. The problem arises when parents are not aware of these symptoms because the teen keeps them hidden — just like the trauma, insecurities, depression, or low self-esteem that may help trigger the disorder.
NEDA has an excellent website full of educational information and resources. Click here.
If you live in Broward, Dade or Palm Beach County and have a teen you suspect is struggling with an eating disorder, get help soon. Find a therapist that specializes with eating disorders through Psychology Today. Click here.
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