Eating disorders (EDs) are complex illnesses that have significant health on the physical, psychological and social health of adolescents and children. We have had an increasing number of teens and children presenting for care to the Eating Disorder Team, Adolescent Medicine Service over the recent years. Anorexia nervosa is the most common restrictive eating disorder presenting to the team.
EDs are serious illnesses that can present with changes in behaviors and attitudes surrounding food, eating, exercise, and weight and can have a significant impact on the physical and psychological health of the patient. They are most commonly known to impact young women, but in fact, can affect anyone of any age or gender. Individuals with eating disorders may not appear thin; individuals with healthy weight or who are overweight can also have eating disorders. Hence, it is important to be aware of the warning signs for an eating disorder.
There is no single cause of EDs - the reasons are complex and vary widely from individual to individual. It is important to remember that eating disorders are
severe illnesses and the affected individual did not choose to have the illness. Similarly, it is important for family members to understand that they did not cause the illness and are
not to be blamed.
Early detection and treatment provides the best chance of a complete recovery and return to a healthy adolescent life.
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