Teens And Bulimia

Bulimia may sound like a foreign country but is actually an eating disorder that affects 5% of young women in the United States. Bulimia’s most common characteristic is that of vomiting to reduce food intake. Laxatives are also used to rid the body of calories. Nation wide, 4.5% of high school students will have participated in the use of laxatives or vomiting to lose weight or maintain their weight every 30 days. Eating disorders are associated with body image. Where it is more common with women, men are also affected. Bulimia is the eating disorder that can be easily hidden. Most people with the disorder are not thin and eat regularly in public but purge in private.

Bulimia And Bingeing

Bulimics may go through thick cycles of bingeing and purging. Worry or concerns can lead a bulimic to consume large quantities of food and calories in a short period of time as much as 20, 0000 calories! The bulimic will begin to feel heavy guilt, shame and a severe loss of control for consuming the large amount of food and will then purge to get rid of it. This can be devastating for the body if it continues more than 3 months. Eating disorders do not always correct themselves. This is a psychological problem and needs to be addressed by a professional doctor or specialist that deals with bulimia.

Bulimic Body Weight

A bulimic usually maintains a normal body weight and can be a couple of pounds overweight. This makes the symptoms hard to detect. Parents should be observant of their teen and their obsessions. If the teen is constantly worrying about their weight, hiding food, preoccupied with food and calorie count, abuse of diet pills and or laxatives, mood swings, depression, going without food, signs of vomiting, and marks on knuckles from induced vomiting, they could suffer from bulimia. Although symptoms of bulimia can be disguised, warning signs become apparent overtime with the bulimic teen. Detectable characteristics may be swollen cheeks, abdominal pain or bloating, gum erosion and decay, constipation, irregular menstrual cycle, swollen salivary glands, calluses on back of hands from scraping teeth while inducing vomiting, and an overall physical weakness. Once the bulimic has reached such extreme physical changes, the severity of bulimic has soared. Medical treatment is needed to correctly diagnose the problem and get the help that is needed to prevent further damage to the body.

Thin Is In

We live in a world where “thin is in” which places undue pressure on the female teen with their body image. Parents need to be careful not to put emphasis on the appearance of their teen’s body but rather build self esteem by focusing on their gifts and talents. Parents should teach good nutrition and the best way to do this is by example. Parents have the power to place a mirror in their home that reflects the beauty within by the use of positive words and encouragement. When teens feel accepted for who they are, they are less likely to develop an eating disorder and can live a full and healthy life.