An eating disorder is a condition that causes some people to have unhealthy thoughts and behaviours about food and body image. Teens with eating disorders often base how they feel about themselves on how much they weigh and how they look.
Common eating disorders include:
It can be hard to know what is an "ideal" body shape or body size when TV and magazines show unrealistic images of what it means to be thin. The way a skinny model looks in a magazine or TV ad is not normal or "ideal." Healthy bodies come in lots of shapes and sizes. Most of us will never look like fashion models or world-class athletes. But when you treat your body well-feed it healthy food and move it in ways it's built to move-you can feel good about it.
Teens who have an eating disorder often strongly deny that they have a problem. They do not see or believe that they do. But there are some feelings and actions that are common with each type of eating disorder.
Teens who have anorexia:
Teens who have bulimia:
Teens with binge eating disorder:
Treatment for eating disorders includes counselling and sometimes medicines. Some teens use both.
No one should feel embarrassed or ashamed about having an eating disorder. It's not caused by personal weakness, and it isn't a character flaw. Many teens struggle with eating disorders for a long time.
If you think you have an eating disorder, get help. If left untreated, eating disorders can cause serious health problems. Treatment can help you feel better and be healthier. If you think a friend or a family member has an eating disorder, tell someone who can make a difference, like a parent, teacher, counsellor, or doctor.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry
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