3 Main Eating Disorders: Types and Causes

An eating disorder can have debilitating and devastating consequences for your teen if left untreated.

According to Web MD, there are three main types of eating disorders:

  1. Anorexia – Is your teen not eating enough calories, shunning anything that could add to her body weight, out of a great and irrational fear of getting fat? That’s a sign you’re dealing with anorexia.
  2. Bulimia – Is your teen overeating a lot by using laxatives to keep from gaining any weight? Some teens induce themselves to vomit in order to achieve the same results as well.
  3. Binge eating – This is when your teen overeats. In this case, though, purging isn’t an issue. This is often seen in emotional eaters or those who find a way to deal with their problems by eating too much.

It’s highly possible for teens to suffer from a combination of two or all of these disorders. At one point, they could suffer from anorexia and then switch to bulimia.

Higher Rates in Females

For anorexia and bulimia, only 5 to 15 percent are male. For binge eating, that number rises to 35 percent. The first numbers though, are disturbing and show how societal pressure on females to achieve a slimmer frame can push teens to develop these health problems.


  • Societal pressure – On nearly every type of media, from books, magazines to shows, female teens confront society’s idea of what’s beautiful and suffer from extreme pressure to uphold rigid standards of beauty. To be the perfect girl, one has to have a slim, skinny frame and that perception shapes a young girl’s self-image, often to the point of putting their fingers down their throat or taking laxatives in a way to keep their weight down.
  • Desire to be a part of – Some teens want to participate in modeling and other elite forms of sports which put significant importance on leanness. That’s one reason for teens to want to lose weight as well.
  • Genetics and biology – For some teens, it could have a lot to do with their genetic makeup. Hereditary factors could account for why one teen is more likely to develop any of these disorders compared to the next one.
  • Personality – Those with a tendency to be anxious, rigid or a perfectionist are more likely to develop these disorders as a coping mechanism against mounting pressure and stress.

So seek out help at the first sign of trouble. Ask us about our treatment for eating disorders in Los Angeles, here at Adolescent Growth. As a teen treatment center, we are dedicated to help you and your loved ones cope.

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