Teenage bulimia is found to be one of the more common of the teenage eating disorders and causes a significant amount of damage to the body. It can lead to death.
This eating disorder also causes emotional and psychological damage to, not only the victim, but to family and friends. Most of the emotional issues for the people who care about the bulimic come from not having recognized the symptoms before it was too late to help. This is one of the many reasons to be knowledgeable and cognizant of the symptoms so that if help is needed, it will be provided.
Symptoms of Teenage Bulimia
The definition of bulimia nervosa is essentially an eating disorder that is characterized by binge eating which is followed by self-induced vomiting. Needless to say, this is also a very life threatening condition if it continues for a long time. Since the vomiting is done in secret, you may feel that it is one of the more difficult teenage eating disorders to recognize. However, there are symptoms that will be noticed if you are paying attention. These symptoms include:
- Eating in a seemingly uncontrollable way.
- Dieting that follows a rigid pattern.
- Fasting more than a normal person does.
- Makes many trips to the bathroom after meals.
- Obsessed with body weight and image.
- Depressed or suffers from mood swings.
- Glands in the face and neck look swollen.
- Eyes appear to be bloodshot.
- Seems to feel exhausted and weak all the time.
- Extreme exercising.
While those are symptoms of teenage bulimia, they can also be considered symptoms of other teenage eating disorders. Therefore, if you notice the above symptoms in a teenager, you cannot automatically assume they have bulimia, but you should pay attention because they most likely have SOME sort of eating disorder.
There are other symptoms which you will most likely not be privy to but if the person you are keeping an eye on seems to complain of frequent indigestion or heartburn, along with the symptoms you have noticed, it points more strongly to the eating disorder of bulimia.
Effects of Bulimia
One of the most obvious effects of teenage bulimia is dental issues. Continual vomiting causes stomach acid to eat away at the enamel on the teeth, which also brings about cavities and broken teeth. Admittedly, not everyone who has these types of dental problems has any of the teenage eating disorders. However, if you put this together with other symptoms you may have noticed in someone, chances are pretty high that this is someone who has bulimia.
Another effect from bulimia is one that can become quite dangerous, even fatal. With the constant vomiting bringing stomach acid into the esophagus, erosion of the lining will start to occur. This paves the way for the development of bleeding ulcers along with possible tears. More serious damage is a possible rupture of the esophagus or stomach, which is easily fatal even with immediate treatment.
As you can see, the physical effects of teenage bulimia can lead to death whether it is eventually or instantly. This is why it is vital that if you have reason to suspect that someone you know and care about may be suffering from this or any other of the teenage eating disorders, you should take immediate steps to gain help for that person.
What you can do to Help
If the suspected bulimic is a member of your family, the first thing you can do is get your family doctor involved. Once you have managed to contact a doctor, many doors will open to avenues of assistance. However, if you are not a member of the family, it will become necessary for you to take a parent, sister, brother, or some other family member into your confidence so that much needed help can be obtained. Whatever path is taken, the first step is awareness.