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Teens and Eating Disorders: What Are the Warning Signs?

Eating disorders are psychological problems that require therapeutic intervention. These disorders make normal functioning difficult and can become chronic, life-threatening illnesses requiring hospitalization. Find out the warning signs of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, and consult your doctor immediately if you think your teen might be suffering from an eating disorder.

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Teen girl trying on red dress

Anorexia Nervosa


In this disorder, a preoccupation with dieting and thinness leads to excessive weight loss through self-starvation.

One percent of teenage girls in the United States develop anorexia nervosa; up to 10 percent of those who do may die as a result, according to information distributed by the American Anorexia/Bulimia Association.

Young adolescents who participate in sports such as dance or gymnastics where size and weight are important to success are especially prone to anorexia nervosa. (They're often told, “Be thin to win.”) Young girls who entered puberty early, have low self-esteem, or have negative feelings about their bodies are also potentially at risk.

Next: Warning Signs of Anorexia

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager © 1996 by Kate Kelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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