Eating disorders are multifaceted mental health conditions that often necessitate both medical and psychological intervention. These disorders are associated with preoccupation with food, weight, and shape, causing severe and persistent disturbances in eating behaviors that have a direct impact on a person’s physical health, emotional state, and capacity to engage in everyday activities. People who struggle with eating disorders use unhealthy eating habits to cope with difficult situations or feelings.
A Closer Look At 7 Types Of Eating Disorders In Male Teens!
It is estimated that at least 9% of the world’s population suffers from an eating disorder. Although 2 out of every 3 people suffering from an eating disorder are women, eating disorders can also affect boys and men.
However, they are at a higher risk of dying or having severe health issues because they are diagnosed at a much later stage of the disease than women. This is mainly due to the misconception or stigma that it can’t occur in males.
This article provides an overview of the seven most common types of eating disorders among teenage boys.
Anorexia nervosa (anorexia), is a type of eating disorder that is characterized by self-starvation and extreme weight loss and is believed to be the most prevalent and fatal type of eating disorder. Individuals with anorexia have an intense fear of gaining weight and often see themselves as overweight, even when they are critically underweight.
Teen boys might engage in this kind of eating behavior to alter their muscular build or their bodies in general. They fear gaining weight due to body image issues, peer pressure, or low self-esteem.
They tend to constantly worry about their weight, have extremely restricted calorie intake, starve themselves, purge food by vomiting or using laxatives, exercise excessively, and have a distorted body image. Anorexia can cause severe health concerns, including anxiety and mood disorders, infertility, thinning of the bones, multiorgan failures, and death.
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where the individual has episodes of binging, which are typically followed by episodes of purging. Binging involves eating large quantities of food in a short period of time with no sense of how much or what they are eating. And most people find it difficult to stop during a binge, even if they want to.
Later, either out of shame or fear of gaining weight, they purge to get rid of the calories by vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising too much. Unlike teens with anorexia, people with bulimia may be thin, normal weight, or overweight.
Here, the teens tend to have recurrent episodes of binge eating and purging behavior, low self-esteem, and a fear of gaining weight despite having a normal weight. Bulimia can lead to rare yet fatal medical conditions like esophageal tears, gastric ruptures, enamel damage, hormonal imbalance, anxiety, and electrolyte imbalance.
Binge Eating Disorder
Just like bulimia, binge eating disorder involves eating too much food in a short amount of time and feeling like you have no control over how much food you eat. However, unlike people with bulimia, they do not use compensatory behaviors like vomiting, fasting, or exercising to rid themselves of the food.
But after binging, they often feel ashamed and worried about gaining weight, which causes them to limit their eating for longer periods of time. This makes you more likely to relapse and start the cycle all over again.
Binge eating disorders can lead to serious health complications such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
ARFID is an eating disorder where there is an extreme limitation on the amount or type of food consumed. Unlike the above-mentioned disorders, here the teens do not fear gaining weight. However, they tend to avoid or restrict certain foods due to their taste, texture, smell, appearance, or temperature.
It is also noticed that people with ARFID have a fear of vomiting from certain foods or having allergic reactions to them, making them avoid such food items. This habit of avoiding foods does not allow the kids to get enough calories to grow and develop and increases the risks of nutrient deficiency.
This is an eating disorder where the individual eats things that are not food or have no nutritional value. Typical substances consumed are clay, dirt, paper, chalk, soap, cloth, paint, etc. Generally, these are related to mental conditions like schizophrenia, or intellectual disabilities.
This disorder increases the risk of developing intestinal blockage, nutrient deficiency, and toxic chemical reactions in the body.
This is an eating disorder where a person regurgitates the food that is already consumed. That is, they voluntarily bring back the food that was already swallowed to the mouth and is re-chewed, re-swallowed, or spat out. If this condition is left untreated it can lead to weight loss, malnutrition, and electrolyte imbalances.
Night Eating Syndrome
This eating disorder is associated with frequent sleep interruptions. Kids with this disorder find it difficult to sleep without eating. NES can increase the risks of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases in the affected individuals.
It’s important to understand that eating disorders are not just about food, but are more about feelings. If you’ve noticed someone in your life exhibiting signs of an eating disorder, encourage them to seek medical help. Treatment is important as the majority of eating disorders can cause physical and emotional distress.