Also known as: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, pica, rumination disorder, “Other/Unspecified feeding or Eating Disorder”.
What are eating disorders?
The term “eating disorder” refers to a variety of persistent and different eating or eating related behaviors that result in a change in the way a child/adolescent/young adult consumes or absorbs food and which significantly causes poorer physical and psychosocial functioning.
They relate to attitudes about foods, eating, weight and body image and can overlap in presentation (e.g. alternate between anorexia and bulimia). They can involve either eating too much, not eating enough or eating the wrong things. They can have serious health consequence in many instances.
What causes eating disorders?
Eating disorders are influenced by a variety of complex factors. They may have a genetic component, as they seem to run in families. Certain social, behavioral and psychological factors can also lead teens to develop eating disorders. Other psychiatric problems (anxiety, depression and substance abuse) are often seen in teens with eating disorders
What are the symptoms of eating disorders?
Symptoms of eating disorders vary by type. With anorexia nervosa, for example, people don’t eat enough to stay healthy and perceive themselves as overweight even when they are becoming dangerously skinny. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating too much, followed by purging the food, often through vomiting or laxative use.
What are eating disorder care options?
A comprehensive treatment program usually requires a team approach which includes Pediatric specialists delivering family-centered and individual behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, nutritional counseling and medications as needed.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: March 16, 2020 09:48 AM
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Learn more about
Bulimia is a type of eating disorder where children/adolescents will have episodes of uncontrollable overeating.
When children are not getting the necessary nutrients and calories from the diet that they need for daily functioning and growth, this is known as malnutrition.
Anorexia is a severe debilitating eating disorder that occurs most frequently in girls that is characterized by a distorted view of their body that leads them to believe they're overweight and need to restrict how much they eat, over exercise, and/or perform other behaviors that prevents them from gaining weight, almost to starvation.
A psychiatric evaluation is an evaluation process with a mental health professional, designed to diagnose and treat (using both medications and other therapies), emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions or disorders.
Family and group therapy are both forms of psychological counseling that involve multiple participants and can take many forms. Families can all go to therapy together to improve communication and address conflicts.