The Causes of Teenage Eating Disorders and How to Recognize them
The causes of teenage eating disorders are uncertain because they are very complex. It could be a combination of several factors which could be genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social.
Although scientists have found that eating disorders are a complicated interaction of the above issues, it is still unclear what the cause exact cause is.
According to WebMD and the NIH, eating disorders in children and teens can lead to numerous physical problems, and could result in death. By studying all the potential risk factors, researchers hope to find specific areas in the brain that control eating behavior, and hopefully medications to address those issues.
Issues that Contribute to Teenage Eating Disorders
Teenagers experience drastic changes physically and psychologically. They are vulnerable to societal pressure and often feel insecure about their bodies. Eating disorders appear to be caused by interactions between genetic, psychological, and social factors.
Some of these factors are:
- genes that control biological systems related, but not limited to: food intake, appetite, metabolism, mood, and reward-pleasure response
- socio-culture influences that affect teenagers: messages through television, magazines, and advertising that are unrealistic and portray an ideal image of beauty that does not exist
- psychological traits such as: perfectionism, obsessive-compulsiveness, neuroticism, low self-esteem, and negative emotions
All the issues accumulated are difficult to cope with, and teenagers may react with harmful eating addictions. They may also experience body dissatisfaction that can lead to feelings of shame, sadness, and anger. Additionally, other psychiatric problems that often appear with eating disorders are anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse.
Despite connections made between factors that contribute to the development of eating disorders, researchers have yet to discover a specific cause. However, researchers are studying clues to provide a better understanding of how eating disorders develop. Because of their vulnerability, it is important to recognize adolescent issues, and to develop treatments for teenage eating disorders.