04 JANUARY
2017

Pay Attention: Your Child Could Be Victim of Eating Disorder!

Food is an essential requirement of our bodies, like oxygen and water. The quality and quantity of food that we consume impacts our health. Moreover, the habitual eating patterns also affect our body - such as the effects of overeating. According to National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. (ANAD), at least 30 million Americans both males and females of all age groups suffer from an eating disorder. Every hour at least one person dies due to a direct result of an eating disorder. Such a health disorder typically develops during early adulthood or adolescence. However, these can affect children as well. Eating disorders in kids and teens cause serious changes in their diet, leading to significant, and even life-threatening health issues.

Signs of Childhood & Adolescent Eating Disorders

Females are vulnerable to have eating disorders. However, males are also susceptible to the issue. The following signs may be helpful to identify a child affected by an eating disorder:

  • Eating in secrecy
  • Calorie counting
  • Fear of becoming fat
  • Preoccupation with food
  • Purging
  • Binge eating
  • Food phobias or avoidance

Causes of Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are complex brain-based, biological conditions that can develop due to a variety of potential causes such as a strong genetic component and a psychological influence. Doctors suspect a combination of biological, behavioral and social factors for the issue. For example, youngsters may be influenced by unrealistic pressures or motivation to achieve the “perfect” body like that of their favorite fitness model or movie star affecting their eating patterns. Moreover, many kids and teens with eating disorders mostly struggle with one or more of the following issues:

  • Distress
  • Feeling of helplessness
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Fear of becoming overweight

Types of Treatments of Eating Disorders

Mentioned bellow are three main types of eating disorders:

1. Anorexia

It is a condition in which a child refuses to consume adequate calories out of an extreme and irrational fear of becoming fat. Initially, it would be our ideal aim to bring the young patient back to its normal weight and eating pattern. Hospitalization may also be required for few weeks. In cases of severe or life-threatening malnutrition, the patient may be required tube or intravenous feeding. Long-term treatment may cause psychological issues. Consequently, treatment includes:

  • Antidepressant medication
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Support groups

2. Bulimia

It this condition a child grossly overeats and then purges the stuff eaten by vomiting or utilizing laxatives to avoid weight gain. The cure aims to stop the binge-and-purge cycle and may include following treatments:

  • Antidepressant medication
  • Behavior modification
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Individual, family, or group therapy

3. Binge eating

It refers to a condition in which a child may overeat rapidly, but without purging. The excess weight gained due to this puts the young patient at the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Cure includes the following treatments:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Medication, including antidepressants
  • Psychotherapy

Conclusion

Food is the vital part of our life. However, malnutrition may result in an eating disorder. Females are vulnerable to the issue. However, males may also be its victim. Eating disorder in children is a combined result of biological, behavioral, and social factors. Moreover, many children and teens with the condition struggle with distress, or fear of becoming overweight, or low self-esteem, or feeling of helplessness. To cope with such issues, they may adopt harmful eating. Anorexia, binge and bulimia eating disorders, and compulsive overeating are alarming concerns that every parent hopes to prevent. Antidepressant medication, behavior modification, and psychotherapy often accompany with treatment for each of three conditions. Always pay attention to your children's activities, behaviors and lifestyles. Because, they could be victim of the health issue.

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