Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are devastating illnesses for both the victims as well as their families. More than seven million women suffer from eating disorders. These illnesses are most common among girls ages 12 to 25, but can occur in younger and older women, as well as in boys and men. Untreated, eating disorders can lead to serious life-long health problems and death. Since not all health care professionals are trained to treat eating disorders, ask your health care professional for a referral to a specialist if your teen exhibits any of these behaviors or symptoms:
Parents can do a lot to discourage unhealthy eating behaviors and encourage positive body images among their teens. Try these approaches:
Sources: American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders and the Harvard Eating Disorders Center
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Blvd, Rm 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Offers comprehensive information on mental health conditions for all age groups, as well as fact sheets and links to community and other resources.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
Highland Park, IL 60035
Provides information about eating disorders, telephone support via a hotline and referrals to support groups and physicians nationwide.
Presented by the National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc.