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Anorexic Teens

Anorexic teens refers to teenagers who suffer from anorexia nervosa, which is one of the most common teen eating disorders. In this article we will review anorexic teen statistics, warning signs, causes, factors, symptoms, effects and treatment of teen anorexia.


Anorexia Nervosa is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder, which is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Teenage girls are more likely to have anorexia than any other group.

Teen anorexia, or anorexia nervosa, is one of the most common eating disorders among teens. Anorexia means that a troubled teen is starving her or himself. Teens with anorexia are obsessed with their body image. Anorexic troubled teens hardly eat anything, and have a distorted view of themselves so that they always think they are fat even if they become dangerously thin. Teen anorexia can cause serious health problems or death, so troubled teens with anorexia need to get medical treatment to recover from their eating disorder.

Eating disorders such as anorexia are most common among teens, though eating disorders can begin earlier or later in life. About 1 percent of teens have an eating disorder. Teen anorexia is most common among teen girls, but about 10 percent of troubled teens with anorexia are boys, and teen boys with eating disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated. Between 5 and 20 percent of teens with anorexia will die because of the disorder.

Some signs that a teen has anorexia include: 

  • Losing weight even after he or she is underweight 
  • Fear of being fat, and belief that he or she is fat even if he or she is underweight 
  • Denial that he or she is underweight 
  • Obsession with what he or she eats, especially obsessively counting calories, weighing food, or developing strict eating rituals 
  • Eating hardly anything at all and saying he or she is never hungry 
  • Excessive exercising to lose weight 
  • For teen guys, an obsession with looking athletic 
  • Staying away from social activities, especially those involving food

Some of these symptoms, such as social withdrawal, losing too much weight, or lack of appetite can also indicate other health problems in troubled teens, including depression, bulimia, or other illnesses. Teens with these symptoms need to be diagnosed by a medical professional.

The causes of anorexia are unknown, but some factors seem to make teens more prone to anorexia, such as: 

  • Feeling out of control, and wanting to control their bodies 
  • Fear of the changes that occur during puberty, such as natural and healthy weight gain 
  • Role models such as celebrities who are excessively thin 
  • Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder 
  • Family members who are overly concerned with weight 
  • Genetics ? Involvement in sports that stress ideal weights, such as gymnastics, ice-skating, ballet, track, and wrestling 
  • Peer pressure from someone they know who is anorexic

Anorexia can do serious harm to a teen's body, sometimes ending in death. Some effects of anorexia are:

  • Malnutrition and starvation 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Susceptibility to injury, especially due to brittle bones 
  • Damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys 
  • Lowered blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rate 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Anemia (lack of red blood cells) 
  • Swollen joints 
  • Light-headedness and poor concentration 
  • Poor performance in sports or school 
  • Loss of hair 
  • Broken fingernails 
  • Dry hair and skin 
  • Growth of soft hair all over the body 
  • Guilt 
  • Depression and withdrawal 
  • In teen girls, loss of menstrual cycle 
  • Death

Teens with anorexia need medical treatment without delay so they can recover from their eating disorder. If you, your teen, or a friend may have anorexia, find help immediately. Teens with anorexia should be treated by doctors, mental health professionals, and dieticians. Individual therapy is necessary to help the teen learn better eating habits and a better attitude about food and body image, and family therapy can help the troubled teen to have a supportive environment during her or his recovery.

Anorexic Teens Sources:

  • Nemours Foundation, TeensHealth, Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia [online]
  • National Eating Disorders Association, Anorexia Nervosa [online]

Related Article: Teen Bulimia >>

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