Saturday 17 March 2018

Eating disorders and teens

For teens, the two most common conditions are bulimia and anorexia.

The majority of people who develop bulimia stay quite close to their normal weight, explains Ruth Ní Eidhin of Bodywhys. “They may lose weight or they may even gain some weight.”

Some signs parents should watch out for with bulimia are swollen glands and calluses being present on your child’s hands if they are making themselves sick.

To get an exact diagnosis of anorexia, if you are female and you have started menstruating, your periods need to have stopped. You also have to have reached a particular low body weight (85pc of your normal body weight and below), Ní Eidhin continues.

With anorexia and bulimia she points to the short-term impact they have on your digestion system.

“There would also potentially be the longer-term problem when you purge in that way, you are interfering with the balance of electrolytes in your body and that can have a real impact on the heart.”

And while we might often associate eating disorders with young females, Ní Eidhin says it’s a growing issue for young males.

“Boys are more inclined towards over-exercising as well as or instead of just restricting their diet – at the extreme level going to the gym even twice a day. It’s the idea of not so much losing weight but building up muscle so that it becomes unhealthy and compulsive,” she adds.

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