What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are health conditions related to irregular eating patterns that can significantly impact your health. They occur when you focus too much on your weight, body, or eating habits. Eating disorders are prevalent amongst teens; 1-4% of teenagers develop an eating disorder. With support, people with eating disorders can learn healthier eating habits and develop a better body image.

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How do I Know if I Have an Eating Disorder?

Many teenagers who have developed an eating disorder don't always notice their unhealthy eating habits. Some symptoms of an eating disorder include:

  • You struggle to eat in front of others.
  • You develop rituals based around eating. It’s a problem when you’re unable to eat without going through a specific routine.
  • You’re losing and gaining weight rapidly.
  • You’re experiencing body dysmorphia. Body dysmorphia is defined as an obsession with perceived flaws in your physical appearance.
  • You’re constantly eliminating food groups or experimenting with new diet trends.
  • You struggle to stay warm, even when it’s hot outside.
  • Your stomach constantly hurts.

Take a quiz:

Eating Attitudes Test - 26 Item (EAT-26) (psychology-tools.com)

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How Can I Cope with my Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders can cause significant health problems, so the safest option is to see a trained professional if you think you have an eating disorder.

Where Can I Get Help?

Talk to your doctor first, you might need some medical tests to make sure your health is okay.  Some local dieticians who help teens with eating issues are Grace Schumacher (907) 631-9005 and Sherrill Collins at (907) 561-7111.

Here are some national helplines as well:

ANAD.org

NationalEatingDisorders.org

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