Bulimia is a common eating disorder affecting many teenagers. Medically known as bulimia nervosa, this eating disorder is characterized by a teen’s preoccupation with body weight and shape. This problem usually more commonly affects teenage girls than by teenage boys.
With this eating disorder, a teenager may engage in go through bouts of binging and purging. With bulimia, teens may eat a large amount of food and then would try to get rid of the extra calories through self-induced vomiting or through excessive exercise.
Cause of bulimia in teens
Doctors do not especially know the underlying cause of bulimia in teens. But researchers believe that bulimia may develop as a result of a number of factors at play. Some people may develop bulimia from a biological cause.
There has been evidence showing that bulimia may also have a possible genetic link. Teens with family members suffering from eating disorders are likely also have the same condition. Studies made on twins also support the same idea.
Another cause of bulimia might be mainly psychological. Teens with low self-esteem and insecurities may contribute to the development of the disorder. The same way may happen to teens that have a higher sense of perfectionism.
Add to this the pervading culture that perceives thinness as beautiful along with peer pressure, then you have for yourself a common cause of bulimia among teenagers.
Symptoms of bulimia
Teens who suffer from bulimia may display a number of signs and symptoms, both physical and behavioral. Some of the physical symptoms include abnormal bowel functions, fatigue, dry skin, damaged teeth and gums, dehydration as swollen salivary glands in the cheeks.
Behavioral symptoms include overeating followed by self-induced purging, overexercising, constant dieting, misuse of laxatives and diuretics as well as depression.
How to prevent bulimia in teens?
There is no surefire way to prevent bulimia from affecting teenagers. But they can be detected early before they do constant damage to the health as well as the well-being of teens. Parents should always be looking out for the tell tale signs of an eating disorder.
If their kids have problems with their appearance and seem to suffer from low self-esteem, talking with them about this issues may help provide them with some guidance and encouragement that can be sufficient enough to steer them away from developing psychologically induced bulimia.
How to treat bulimia in teens?
Treatment of bulimia in teens is usually a combination medication and psychotherapy. The medications that are used mainly aims to treat the poor health condition of a patient.
For those who are also suffering from depression, anti-depressants may also be part of the treatment.
Along with this, psychotherapy also helps a lot in treating the condition by giving the patients a means to talk about their disorder and other related issues with a psychologist or a mental health specialist.