4 Most Common Eating Disorders In Teenagers

4 most common eating disorders in teenagers

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If you are parent to a teenager, you sure face serious problems getting them to eat right. Most teenagers are allured into eating all things wrong. If your teen too keeps away from all things green and healthy and munches on mostly junk, chances are she might suffer from an eating disorder.

Does your teen too suffer from an eating disorder? Understanding more about eating disorders in teenagers will help you control the damage.

Teenage Eating Disorder:

Eating disorders are serious eating problems that can prove to be devastating in more ways than one. It does not only affect your teenager’s health, but also productivity, growth and relationships.

If your teenager suffers from an eating disorder, this must be rectified at the earliest. The earlier you identify this problem and prevent it, the greater are the chances of lesser damage and faster recovery.

Causes Of Eating Disorders In Teens:

In today’s scenario, teenagers are under constant peer pressure to look good,

which, for them, means being in shape. Teenagers today get upset about weight gain. They are obsessed with losing weight to achieve a slimmer body. These thoughts force them to avoid eating the right nutrients. They often skip meals and starve themselves for long hours, leading to eating disorders.

[ Read: Teenage Fitness ]

Most Common Types Of Eating Disorders In Teenagers:

Eating disorder causes grave changes in your teen’s development. These unhealthy eating habits may alter their lifestyle and food habits and cause long-term harm. Here is the list of teen eating disorders:

1. Anorexia Nervosa:

This is one of the most common eating disorders in teenagers today.

  • Your teen will consciously reduce the number of calories that she intakes per day.
  • This particular eating disorder is often associated with adolescents.
  • This is also found to be more common among girls. In fact, it is found 10 times more in teen girls than in teen boys.

Symptoms Of Anorexia Nervosa:

  • Extreme and sudden weight loss
  • An abnormal drop in blood count
  • Frequent and fast exhaustion
  • Fainting and feeling dizziness
  • Hair, bones and nails get brittle
  • The body gets covered by a very soft layer of hair
  • Menstruation ceases
  • Bowel movements become irregular
  • Excess dry skin
  • Cold intolerance due to less body fat
  • Heart beat gets irregular
  • Low blood pressure to an abnormal point
  • Dehydration
  • Persistent loss of appetite
  • Too much of exercising
  • Symptoms related to depression


If you identify your teen suffering from this eating disorder, you must seek medical help and care and seek psychotherapy too.

[ Read: Teenage Brain Development ]

2. Bulimia Nervosa:

If your teen suffers from this eating disorder, you will be able to identify it by noticing if she indulges in binge eating all the time or not.

  • Teens who suffer from Bulimia Nervosa are opposite of those suffering from Anorexia Nervosa.
  • Your teen won’t deprive herself of food but will indulge in binge eating all the time.
  • To prevent weight gain, she will indulge in self-induced vomiting after eating. Again, when she feels hungry, she will repeat this cycle.

Symptoms Of Bulimia Nervosa:

  • Teeth gets discolored due to excess vomiting
  • Swollen jaws and cheeks
  • Corned or hardened skin on hands due to constant forceful vomiting

Other Wrong Effects Of Bulimia Nervosa:

  • Bulimia Nervosa can lead to heart-related problems too. This is thought to be one of the most threatening effects of this eating disorder. It can also lead to an imbalance of electrolytes which in turn may lead one to premature death.
  • Bulimia nervosa is found to occur along with other major psychological problems that teens face today. These problems include alcohol and drug abuse and sexual promiscuity also to some extent.
  • Another tell-tale symptom of bulimia is obsession with exercising. You will find your teen indulging in compulsive exercising. This is just another way of getting rid of all the extra calories that she put on due to binging. It puts your teen’s body under too much of stress and pressure.


The good news is that bulimia nervosa’s recovery is almost 70 percent – this is a lot higher than that of anorexia.

[ Read: Teenage Stress ]

3. Orthorexia Nervosa:

This is another type of eating disorder found commonly in teenagers.

  • Your teen may get fixated on eating just healthy foods.
  • She may develop a sort of obsession to attain a form of body purity and may constantly monitor everything she eats or drinks.
  • This turns into a compulsive behavior soon.
  • She may end up spending a good amount of time in planning her meals ahead in time.
  • Though this disorder may not essentially turn out to be frightening, it sure affects your teen’s social life.

4. Binge Eating Disorder:

You might find this particular disorder very close or similar to Bulimia Nervosa, largely because both these disorders do not make the teen deprive herself of eating.

  • Your teen may eat enough food. But unlike Bulimia Nervosa, she may simply face a lot of guilt due to her erratic eating pattern and hence withdraw completely from social environments.
  • As per the Weight-control Information Network, if this eating disorder continues for long, it may pave way for considerable and grave medical problems like:
  • Diabetes – Type II
  • An increase in blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Heart and gall bladder-related problems
  • Selected types of cancer


There are a variety of therapies like behavioural therapy to treat this eating disorder. Even medications may help.

Preventing Eating Disorder In Teenagers:

If you find out your teen suffering from any of these eating disorders, do not panic. Handle the situation with a lot of patience and calm

  • Encourage your teen to eat good and healthy food right from an early age.
  • Explain the importance and role of a good diet in one’s life.
  • Make them understand how exercising regularly is a much safer and better way of losing weight rather than starving.
  • Your teen must not feel dejected or unaccepted.
  • Sit and talk things out clearly.
  • Help your teen in every possible way. He might need your support more than ever.
  • Take your teen in your confidence and make him realise things that he otherwise might not.
  • Do not blame or disown him.
  • The age is responsible here, so is peer pressure. Discuss and explain ways of getting rid of peer pressure.
  • Make them understand that a body healthy inside looks beautiful outside.
  • Make them realise that mind and thoughts make one look good not their looks.

Tell us if your teenager has suffered from any eating disorders. How did you combat the problem? Share your special tips to prevent your teenager from falling prey to these eating disorders.

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