Anorexia and bulimia are common disorders. Many teens struggle with body image regardless of their size.
Teenage girls have the tendency to compare themselves to actresses and models in magazines. These models tend to be sample sizes (size 0-4). Unfortunately they begin to believe in this standardized image of attractiveness. They also face pressure from their peers which impacts their self-esteem.Teens can also experience pressure from within their family. In some cases, parents may influence their child’s body image if they are worried of their weight. It’s no surprise teenage girls have body image issues. They are often surrounded by negative influences from their environment.
Anorexia is not an issue exclusive to teenage girls. It can affect boys as well.Males experience body image differently than females. Females are expected to be model thin. Despite these differences it is more prevalent in girls than it is for boys.
Warning Signs of Anorexia
Anorexia is characterized by a refusal to eat. It sometimes occurs with over-the-top exercise. The goal is to burn as many calories as possible. The idea is to not only prevent weight gain, but to continue to lose weight. The most obvious sign is drastic weight loss. Adults close to teens may also find that he/she is experiencing body image issues. Often teens perceive themselves as fat regardless of their true size.
To avoid eating, anorexia sufferers will make excuses to skip meals or say they’re not hungry. While they will eat on occasion, they will choose items low in calories and sugar. They will often try to eat in private because they’re concerned they’re being judged. There are other signs of anorexia that go hand-in-hand with malnutrition. This is due to lack of vitamins and other essential nutrients.
- Discolored teeth
- Hair loss
- Dull skin
These are just a few of the indications that could suggest of anorexia.
Anorexia does not always relate to eating habits. Anorexics obsess over losing weight and may also exercise to a degree that is unhealthy. They will work out for hours a day and always feel like they should still be doing even more. For teens who already lead active lives, this is a noticeable sign as extensive exercise is not necessary.
Treatment for Anorexia
Parents and other adult figures are often the ones to identify anorexia. Friends of teens may not say anything if they have similar struggles themselves. If a teacher suspects anorexia then they should talk to the student’s parents. Help is available. Treatment is necessary as anorexia can have long-term effects on one’s health. Rehab can address body image issues through counseling, while teens work to overcome an aversion to food. Without treatment, teens will continue a decline. Consequently, they may carry their deep body image issues into adulthood. They may find it harder to break bad habits.