Presenting Positive Body Image Information to Teens With Anorexia

Anorexia, Bulima and Teenagers

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by obsession with weight loss and low self-esteem.

Anorexia or Bulimia simple means maintaining control over one’s own body. It is a destructive way to treat your body; especially your organs which are affected directly from starving yourself, using enemas, water and overuse of diet pills. Bulimia sufferers bing and purge to keep their weight down.

Just like any other addiction you have to get the person involved to admit to their addiction. In this case you must get your teenager to admit to this huge problem. This is the first step to solving this problem.

Teenagers become young women and men. If the Anorexia is not stopped in the teenage years, it will continue over into young adulthood. Girls have this disease more than boys. Teenagers can have this disease from any walk of life or ethnic group, but it is mainly Caucasian teenage girls who come from the middle to upper class.

The girls which are in plays, on television, play an instrument, dance, sing or in general out in the spot light are the ones which are the ones who will be easily reached into becoming obsessed about their weight.

One of the examples of this is Karen Carpenter who was a famous singer and drummer. She started her career as a teenager and one day she read an article in a local newspaper she was chubby. Ms. Carpenter had been on the top ten hit songs in the early seventies. This little article caused Ms. Carpenter to become obsessive about her weight. She became anorexic becoming grossly underweight while purging and binging; she damaged her heart and died of a heart attack at age 32.

Exercising may become obsessive to the teenage girl to burn calories and become thin. But even when the teenager is thin, she must be thinner in her mind. Excessive physical exercise can become dangerous, if the teenager becomes weak from lack of food. This is definitely a mental condition that could have started in many ways.

Reasons For Anorexia:

  • Mental disorder.
  • Physical disorder.
  • Child abuse.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • A diet that went out of control.
  • Feeding problems as an infant.
  • Family interference.

This does not leave out the ordinary teenager who just wants to belong and not be overweight. This is the teenager with low self-esteem and can’t quite pull his/herself out of this bottomless pit.

Teenage Girls

When teenage girls read fashion magazines where the models are pencil thin, this is when the teenage girls think they need to be as thin as the models. This is not true. These women chose this profession and the chose to stay pencil thin to keep their employment.

Now fashion is changing. There are magazines for the normal full to plus size women. They even have fashion magazines with normal to full plus women to show off women’s sizes. When you think about it, how many girls are pencil thin in the real world? This is one of the ways where these girls get idea’s they had to be pencil thin to look like these fashion models.

Medical Research

The human brain is where research is being conducted. The brain is complex.

Parts Of The Brain

  • Cerebral hemisphere
  • Thalamus
  • Hypothalamus
  • Pituitary
  • Pons
  • Medulla
  • Midbrain
  • Cerebellum
  • Spinal Cord
  • The hypothalamus is a part of the brain which dysfunctions.
  • It’s linked closely with the pituitary gland to control many of the body functions.
  • It monitors and controls your sleep cycle.
  • Omeostasis means running your body smoothly.

Nutritional Training

This is where the schools, parents, medical personals need to start being trained into good nutrition. It should be part of their medical training, where the parents need to take an active interest in their teenagers eating habits.

There are other ways to lose weight and keep it off besides starvation, binging and purging. This is the number one problem in America today, either being anorexic or obese. There is too much junk food flashed in young adults faces from everywhere from television, movies, magazines, and television.

Teenagers think everything they put into their mouths will make them fat. They progress into a state of starvation where they can’t push the food into their mouth’s fast enough. This is what is called binging. This is followed by sticking their finger down their throat and vomiting. This is where the overwhelming medical problems start.

Parents

As a parent you must keep track of your teenagers various activities. You must be on the alert for anything out of the ordinary.

  • Playing with food.
  • Taking small helpings.
  • Pushing food around on the plate.
  • Brittle skin.
  • Teeth marks on knuckles.
  • Doesn’t want to eat in public.
  • Counts every calorie eaten.

As a parent when you realize your teenager is anorexic take immediate action. The teenager’s life is at stake.

Family Intervention

The family and good friends; if necessary must be present to present their argument.

  • Talk about their health.
  • Tell your teenager how much you love him/her.
  • You must be strong.
  • Your teenager will protest. There is nothing wrong.

Take Action

  • Immediate medical attention a physician or Psychiatrist.
  • Admission to a hospital which specializes in anorexia.
  • Working with a Psychologist on a one to one basis or group therapy.

Group Therapy

  • Talking in groups of teenagers with the same problem.
  • Talking with a professional who will lead the group session.
  • Sports
  • This is important for all teenagers.
  • Join a gym.
  • Running
  • Aerobics
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Bike riding
  • Skating

This will build self-esteem, keep weight down meet new people and explore new avenues of find out about your selves. Exercise will burn calories and keep the teenager’s mind off of food. When they reach home they will be more than ready for a good family meal.

Medical Problems From Binging and Purging

  • Esophagus Is the food starts in the mouth and travel downward into the stomach this is the tube which connects the mouth and stomach.”
  • The bile and acid irritates the lining.
  • Tears can happen and become a life and death situation.
  • Narrowing of the esophagus can prevent food passing through.
  • This causes an inflammation of the stomach lining.
  • Can cause the stomach to rupture.

Medical Problems

  • Heart damage/Heart attack.
  • Loss of fluids and electrolytes.
  • Dehydration
  • Memory Loss
  • Anemia
  • Kidney Disease/Kidney failure.
  • Loss of teeth.
  • Reproduction system – might not be able to have children.
  • Lung complications
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Low potassium
  • Kidney stones/failure
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Ulcers
  • Death

When you become anorexic, you are not only hurting yourself, mentally and physically but your family and friends as well. There isn’t any easy fix for this mental/medical problem which can be life threatening. Take baby steps.

Family Therapy

  • This is where you talk with a Psychiatrist or family counselor and ask and answer questions.
  • What happens when you eat lunch in the school cafeteria?
  • Is it the food you don’t like?
  • Is it the way the food is set out for you to pick from?
  • Do you not like the food choices?
  • Do you want to see other food choices?
  • What would you like to eat at school?
  • When you hang out with your friends what do you eat?
  • What kind of food do you eat?
  • Can it be changed?

Family Dinner

  • Turn off the television.
  • Everybody sit around the table.
  • Talk to each other.

This is so important in keeping the communication open between you and your teenagers. Communication is disappearing in today’s world. With texting and e mails, instant messaging the English language is being lost. The teenagers feel it more than we think.

Try to get a dialogue going with your teenage child. Ask you teenager what you can do to help. This won’t be easy since teenagers are usually closed mouthed about their personal life. Don’t give up. Try to find an even balance, you can talk about and win over your teenagers confidence.
Love, Hugs, Compliments

Hugs can’t be mentioned enough. Hug your teenager every chance you can get. Tell your teenager you love him/her. Compliment him/her every chance you can get even for something you would never have thought of before. Your hair looks great today. I like your new sweater. I can’t do as many sit ups as you. Build up your teenager’s confidence.

For the teenager daughter dad is probable the most important person in her life next to her mother. If there isn’t a dad a strong male who is important to her, an older brother or an uncle. There is a fierce love between dad and daughter. Dads must be especially aware of this. They can inflict damage to their daughters without realizing with a look or saying something. Teenage girls are very emotional and feel each emotion very strongly.

Even though your teenager has low self-esteem and doesn’t believe in him/herself, don’t stop the hugs, the I love you’s and the compliments.

Love, education, a good doctor and therapist, who can give nutritional advice, can get your teenager healthy mentally and physically. It will happen never give up. Love can move mountains.

Nutrition

Nutrition is so important. It’s as important as breathing. Yet it is not taught in the school system. When you graduate from high school and are out on your own the choices we make to eat are sometimes not the best.

Today the way food is grown and processed is completely different from 20 years ago. This was when food was food and not chemicals. It was not loaded with salt, sugar, and fat.

We all must be educated on how to eat and what to eat. Today obesity is running wild though out the school system into adulthood. There are disease on the rampage which were for senior citizens not elementary school age children and older.

Education is the key. We must all be educated on what there is to eat that will not make us sick, make us obese or kill us.

Linda E. Meckler
Copyright 2010