There are many reasons why teenagers develop eating disorders. One of the primary reasons is due to the celebrities influence on our youth generation. This influence of celebrities on youth is so prevalent that it affects image perceptions. Thin, skinny models are still to this day used most often in fashion magazines and in beauty magazines. Actors and actresses are slim and beautiful and often fit a specific type. Images are retouched, videos can be altered, and so much more.
It doesn’t help of course that even today the actors and actresses who play teenagers in shows and especially in movies are adults. These twenty and even thirty-year-olds have grown out of their awkward teenage phase, and pre-teens especially cannot recognize this. They believe they will look just like that when they go to high school, only to realize that typical teenage girl hormones and emotions don’t make you look like what these adult actors promised.
Add on to the fact that teens are very susceptible to teen mental issues that create an entire teenage mental disorders list on their own, and you have a recipe for disaster. Teenage girls (and boys) may take drastic measures to change how they look because they believe that is the secret to happiness.
How many teens have anorexia? 1% of teenage girls. How many have bulimia? An estimated 1.1 to 4.2% of women, though there are no precise statistics on teens in general. Binge eating is another disorder that gets commonly overlooked, with 3.5% of women and 2% of men suffering from a binge eating disorder.
Most of these disorders begin in teenagerhood or early adulthood. This is likely because hormonal imbalance and changing bodies result in the development of a variety of teenage disorders. Eating disorders can either arise on their own or in conjunction with other mental disorders in teens like anxiety or depression.
Anorexia, in particular, is exceptionally dangerous, as it often sets in around the start of puberty. These victims are 56x more likely to commit suicide, and it also has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness out there, due to the strain and damage it causes the body.
You do not want to ignore the signs of an eating disorder, which can make dealing with difficult teens even more stressful. Even a seemingly healthy teenager can have one, which is why, as a parent, you will want to keep an eye out for these top six signs:
- Weight loss or dieting have become a primary concern.
- Uncomfortable with eating, especially around others.
- Picky eating behaviors become excessive – not liking spaghetti Bolognese becomes an avoidance of all carbs, for example.
- Skipping meals or taking smaller and smaller portions (or alternatively larger and larger portions)
- Sudden weight fluctuations.
- Physical symptoms – missed period, thinning hair, dry skin, brittle nails, increase in cavities, yellow skin, slow healing, reduced immune system.
- Fainting, weakness, dizziness
- Frequent bathroom visits, especially in conjunction with an increase in breath mints, cavities, teeth discoloration, and even calluses on hands and knuckles
Catching these warning signs and getting your teen professional help is critical. Our treatment centers work on addressing both the physical symptoms and the underlying cause and can help your teen make a full recovery from their disorder so that they may live a long and healthy life.