Eating Disorders

All Articles in the Category ‘Eating Disorders’

Eating disorders

I recently viewed the Netflix film, “To the Bone,” a story of one individual’s journey in recovery from anorexia nervosa. The emotions in the movie were true to the experiences of my patients and families as they manage the journey of getting better. The post is available on the Seattle Children’s blog: On the Pulse. Here’s a preview…

As an adolescent medicine specialist, I help teens manage a wide range of eating habits, many of which can negatively impact their overall health and development. For example, I often hear teens say they’re skipping breakfast or trying to diet. Some have very rigid rules around food that alarmingly result in their bodies showing signs of starvation. Although these symptoms can rarely point to a severe eating disorder like anorexia and bulimia nervosa, when these disorders do take hold they can be life altering.

To read more, view the full post here. 


Teens and the use of human growth hormone

girls basketballIn our society we are constantly bombarded with images displaying a narrow view of what it means to be attractive, handsome, or beautiful. Adolescents are just as susceptible to feeling like they need to look a certain way as adults are. Unfortunately, this push to have a certain physique can lead to some pretty dangerous behaviors. Teens may skip meals, take diet pills, exercise excessively, vomit after eating, or take laxatives in order to lose weight or prevent weight gain. Another dangerous trend is increasing: the use human growth hormone in an effort to build muscle. Read full post »

10 million males struggle with eating disorders

Eating disorders affect millions of people in our country. They can range from restriction of food to binge eating. Though our culture typically considers eating disorders to be a disease of females, around 10 million males are actually affected by eating disorders in our country.

Disordered eating behavior often starts in adolescence and for some, the behaviors go undiagnosed for months to years. The Centers for Disease Control asked high school students about their eating behaviors. Among boys, 7% skipped eating for an entire day in order to lose weight, 4% took diet pills, liquids, or powders in order to prevent weight gain, and almost 3% actually vomited or took laxatives within the past 30 days in order to not gain weight.

More boys are starting to share their struggles with eating disorders. A recent National Public Radio (NPR) story shared the story of Jonathan. Hearing his journey highlighted to me the importance of listening to my patients and as a parent, not ignoring any gut instinct that may say ‘something’s not right here.’ His mother is very open in the story about what she observed and that she didn’t initially consider an eating disorder.

So what are some warning signs of an eating disorder:

  • Concern about body shape/size
  • social isolation
  • odd food behaviors (only eating certain foods, avoiding eating around other people, cutting food into small pieces, hiding food or throwing it away)
  • excessive weight loss
  • intense fear of gaining weight
  • excessive exercise
  • use of diet pills, laxatives, or supplements to lose weight
  • vomiting after meals

If you suspect your son may be struggling with his weight (whether over or underweight), seek the help of a medical professional. Be open with your concerns as eating disorders are not always the first thing that comes to mind in a medical encounter.

Organizations with resources include:

National Eating Disorder Association

Something Fishy

Previous posts on eating disorders include:

Eating Disorders: Signs and Symptoms post 1 (from a series of 8 posts)

When weight loss is an eating disorder

Christine and Pepper’s Story: a Journey to recovery from anorexia

Healthy living is a very hot topic for most of Americans. Unfortunately, for some teens, the quest to be ‘healthy’ can morph into an eating disorder. In this video blog, we asked a young adult and her mother to share their journey towards recovery from anorexia nervosa. Thank you Pepper and Christine!

Eating Disorder: Society’s Influence Post 8

Eating disorders affect people from many walks of life. The media recently spoke of the singer Kesha being treated for anorexia nervosa and there are often reports of other celebrities seeking treatment. In this video we talk about how our society may influence the perpetuation of eating disorders.

Eating Disorders: Medical Complications Post 7

We’ve had a series on eating disorders over the past few months where we’ve covered a lot of information. Eating disorders are a true disease with serious complications. In this video blog, we’ll discuss the medical complications that can result from an eating disorder.

Eating Disorders: Various Types Post 6

We’ve had a series on eating disorders over the past few months. Eating disorders come in all different shapes and sizes. Here we’ll discuss some of the various types of disorders.

Eating Disorders: Next Steps After Diagnosis Post 5

We’ve had a series of video posts on eating disorders with information provided by Dr. Adrianne Altman. Now let’s talk about what happens after a teen is diagnosed. Who helps them in recovery? What are the treatment options? In the next group of videos I’ll share some of the common topics that I discuss with families tackling this challenging disease.

Eating Disorders: Treatment Options Post 4

Treatment of eating disorders is complex and involves a team of specialists. It can range from hospital treatment to outpatient appointments and everything in between. In this post we’ll hear more from Dr. Adrianne Altman on the treatment options for teens with eating disorders.

Eating Disorders: Talking to your teen Post 3

This is the 3rd post in our series on eating disorders. Here, guest Adrianne Altman offers more information on how to talk with your teen if you suspect and eating disorder.