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Eating Disorders in Adolescents

Since adolescence is the period where bones are sprout and expand rapidly, well-fed food must be given to the teenager to support regular growth & development. The nutritional intake must be evaluated constantly and changed depending upon the developing needs. Teenagers tend to acquire eating disorders that compromise their nutritional health. The eating behavior must be adjusted as early as possible as it might contribute to the development of complex disorders. Eating disorder is the third prevalent chronic condition, especially in adolescent females and the number has been increasing quickly over the previous thirty years.

There are two subcategories of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is the restrictive version, where the intake of food is limited severely. In bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where the adolescent binges on food and then tries to reduce the effects by violently vomiting, fasting, and catharsis or over-exercising. When managing youth eating disorders, they must be managed differently from adult eating disorders. Adolescents experience difficulties such as growth retardation, suppressed height, aberrant weight, pubertal delay, menstrual periods absence, and menses unpredictability. When the teenager is growing there will be key tissue components loss such as loss of body fat, muscle mass, and bone mineral.

Nutritional imbalance is also caused which reflect anomalies in the levels of vitamins, mineral, and other trace components. The problem is that these abnormalities cannot be recognized clinically. But since protein and caloric are crucial to the growth of the teenager, it is important to trace their irregularities. Because of the challenges, healthy adulthood is not a possible thing. Because of all these factors, it is vital to recognize adolescent eating disorders as early as feasible. Eating disorders give rise to peak bone mass impaired acquisition in the case of teens. When kids grow into adults, this condition aggravates osteoporosis. Even internal organs get harmed owing to eating problems. All this can be prevented by early action so as to minimize, prevent and relieve medical issues, which might potentially into life-threatening.

Adolescents who adopt improper weight management methods and are preoccupied with figure, weight, diet, or activity should be addressed clinically. Not only should the symptoms be evaluated, but their length, strength, and frequency should also be checked. Although most of the physical issues generated due to eating disorders get cured with the help of nutritional rehabilitation some of the conditions become irreversible and the long-term repercussions of this are highly severe. It is better if the eating problems are diagnosed in the early stages as it won’t result in irreparable damage. Medical surveillance should be pursued till the adolescent gets back to acceptable psychological and medical health.

Eating disorders not only result in physical abnormalities but also psychological problems. Adolescents with eating disorders take onto social isolation, low self-worth, affective disorders, low self-concept, substance addiction, anxiety, and depression. Usually, adolescents convert to poor eating habits because of despair and lack of knowledge about effective strategies to reduce weight. So the individuals who are being treated for eating disorders must also be treated for psychological illness if they have any. Even if the habits don’t suit the stringent requirements, adolescents who limit food intake, binge, vomit, or purge accompanied with or without extreme weight loss, should be observed because of the involvement of risk of even mortality. Early therapy will have an improved outcome. But the level of intervention in teens should be less as compared to adults.

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