Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and they are not uncommon among teens. According to Johns Hopkins, as many as 30 million people in the U.S. have an eating disorder, and 95% of them are between the ages of 12 and 25, affecting all genders, races and ethnic groups.
An eating disorder is a psychological disorder that involves an extreme form of eating behavior, including, according to WebMD, “anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating. A teen with anorexia refuses to stay at a normal body weight. Someone with bulimia has repeated episodes of binge eating followed by compulsive behaviors such as vomiting or the use of laxatives to rid the body of food. Binge eating is characterized by uncontrolled overeating.”
Experts link eating disorders to a combination of factors, including genetics, family relationships, and underlying psychological issues, but developing teens are often grappling with body image issues, so eating disorders – among boys as well as girls -- may be fueled by our weight and fitness-obsessed culture.
WebMD offers a good primer on eating disorders among teens - www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/understanding-eating-disorders-teens
Also Eating Disorder Facts – John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital - https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/Services/Pediatric-and-Adolescent-Medicine/Adolescent-and-Young-Adult-Specialty-Clinic/Eating-Disorders/Eating-Disorder-Facts
Resources and Services
For those struggling with an eating disorder or know somebody who is, the National Eating Disorders Association's Helpline at 800-931-2237 may be a good place to start.
And while a number of other websites offer information and resources, here are two that offer local services --
MEDA (Multi-service Eating Disorders Association -- in Newton, (617) 558 1881 or (888) 350 4049, https://www.medainc.org/
The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders - Boston, MA (800) 736-3739(800) 736-3739 https://renfrewcenter.com/
Walden Behavioral Health 888-305-2997, https://www.waldenbehavioralcare.com/
Robyn Kievit, Dietician and Nurse Practitioner- https://robynkievit.com/
Survive FBT: Skills Manual for Parents Undertaking Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Child and Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa- https://mariaganci.com/books/