“Our minds distort our mirrors.”
Children or young adults with eating disorders perceive themselves differently which leads to either binge eating or starving. Eating disorders are problems with the way people eat. Common types of eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Disordered eating issues can develop during any stage in life but typically appear during the childhood (teen years) or young adulthood. Although these conditions are treatable, the symptoms and consequences can be detrimental and deadly if not addressed. Eating disorders commonly coexist with other conditions, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or depression.
3 most common Eating Disorders
*Anorexia Nervosa- A child or young adult living with Anorexia nervosa will typically have an obsessive fear of gaining weight, refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an unrealistic perception of body image. Many children or young adults with anorexia nervosa will limit the quantity of food they consume and view themselves as overweight, even when they are clearly underweight.
*Bulimia Nervosa-This eating disorder is characterized by repeated binge eating followed by behaviours that compensate for the overeating, such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, or extreme use of laxatives or diuretics. Children or young adults having Bulimia may fear weight gain and feel severely unhappy with their body size and shape. The binge-eating and purging cycle is typically done in secret, creating feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of control.
*Binge Eating Disorder- Individuals who suffer from Binge Eating Disorder will frequently lose control over his or her eating. Different from bulimia nervosa however, episodes of binge-eating are not followed by compensatory behaviours, such as purging, fasting, or excessive exercise. Children or young adults who struggle with this disorder may also experience intense feelings of guilt, distress, and embarrassment related to their binge-eating.
What causes eating disorders in
children or adolescents?
We aren’t yet certain what cause eating disorders. It is suspected that eating disorders are a combination of biological, behavioural and social factors. For instance, young people may be influenced by cultural images that favour bodies too underweight to be healthy. Also, many children and teens with eating disorders struggle with one or more of the problems like distress, fear of becoming overweight, feeling of helplessness, low self-esteem etc.
Signs and symptoms of eating disorders in children or adolescents:
* Chronic dieting despite being hazardously underweight
* Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
* Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
* Depression or lethargic stage
* Avoidance of social functions, family, and friends. May become isolated and withdrawn
” Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
Not every child or adolescent fits into the diagnostic categories above, but they can still have clinically significant problems with eating.Examples include, a teen who does not binge but purges most meals in an effort to control weight or manage emotions. Or a child may have night eating syndrome, meaning most calories are consumed in the latter part of the day to evening, including episodes of eating late at night. Treatment for an eating disorder usually comprises of monitoring,right nutrition, Therapy and medications. I believe, In any case, recognizing and addressing the eating disorder are crucial in being able to begin treatment. I believe, In any case recognizing and addressing the eating disorder are crucial in being able to begin treatment.
(The author is RCL Child Counsellor)