Many children falling under the age group of 13-17 years are suffering from an eating disorder. Be it because of the body-shaming during the puberty-related body transitions or societal pressure, youngsters today are seen becoming very conscious about their looks and body. You may have even come across many people who are irrationally obsessed over their weight or those who are extremely picky eaters. It is very much possible that these people could be suffering from an eating disorder. These patients may need immediate help, or else some of these eating disorders can become life-threatening.
As a friend or loved one, you can help them by noticing some classic signs and symptoms that are visible in people suffering from an eating disorder and helping them seek help.
Signs and symptoms of an eating disorder
- They may experience sudden weight loss or weight gain
- The person may become more conscious about their weight and body shape
- The person may be found checking themselves in the mirror more often than usual
- The person may be seen either having smaller portions of food or skipping meals
- The person might prefer eating alone
- The person may start chewing their food excessively
- They may start exercising vigorously
- They may be seen taking laxatives after meals deliberately
- They may induce vomiting after meals to avoid weight gain
- They may suddenly put themselves under an extreme diet which excludes sugar, carbohydrates and dairy
- The person may present with extreme mood swings
- The person may complain of being dizzy and tired due to lack of energy in the body
- The person may present with gastrointestinal issues like abdominal cramps, indigestion and acid reflux
- Due to lack of nutrients in the body, they may present with dry skin, thin hair and brittle nails
- You may see callus formation across the top of finger joints due to induced vomiting
- These people may have discolouration of teeth due to frequent vomiting
- Women with an eating disorder may face menstrual irregularities
Common types of eating disorders
There are three types of eating disorders that are very common:
1. Anorexia Nervosa: People suffering from this kind of eating disorder may be seen reducing their diet and being calorie-conscious. They may present with a dramatic weight loss as well.
2. Bulimia Nervosa: This can be a life-threatening eating disorder as the affected person may take to practices like self-induced vomiting after eating a lot of food at once to purge themselves. These people may present with serious acid reflux and a callus at the back of their hand.
3. Binge Eating Disorder: People suffering from this kind of eating disorder can be seen eating large amounts of food to the point of discomfort. These people feel a sense of shame and distress associated with their feeding habits.
For more information, read our article on Eating disorders.
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