Eating disorder: treat anorexia & bulemia quickly

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More and more children and adolescents are showing symptoms of an eating disorder

The number of adolescents with eating disorders has increased dramatically in recent years. It is starved or even deliberately vomited. Without timely treatment, those affected may develop anorexia or bulimia.

According to the child and adolescent psychotherapist Arne Bürger from Mainz, deliberate vomiting after eating or starving may be the first signs of a disorder. "The sooner the disorder is recognized and treated, the better," said the expert. This can possibly prevent a worse complete illness.

Recognizing eating disorders According to the international classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD10), eating disorders are described as eating attacks with other mental disorders. They are called behavioral disorders with serious and long-term health problems. There is a constant mental and emotional preoccupation with the topic of "food". It is associated with psychosocial disorders and attitudes towards one's own body. Eating disorders can become a great burden for the whole family, said the chairwoman of the state association of relatives of mentally ill people in Rhineland-Palatinate, Monika Zindorf. The parents of children with eating disorders often feel an obligation to constantly monitor their children, which usually leads to major conflicts.

The causes of eating disorders are complex. There are few therapy options and you also have to wait a long time for a place. "Relatives are often overwhelmed and helpless." The development of an eating disorder is complex. The girls affected not only followed a pathological beauty ideal, but also face increasing pressure to perform at school and in the family. "Many children today have a busy schedule like managers "said Bürger. They lack the time to be able to switch off. Emotions can be shown less and less, which ultimately leads to" only working ".

"They don't learn to deal with conflicts or to admit weaknesses." All of this leads to a negative emotional tension - which can also result in eating disorders, according to the psychotherapist.

It once again underlines the importance of seeing a specialist for individual symptoms of eating disorders. "You should never think you can do it alone." The death rate from anorexia nervosa ranged from two to 16 percent.

Girls and women affected more often than men Among the 14 to 18-year-olds, one percent regularly suffer from tangible anorexia (anorexia), up to three percent from bulimia (eating and vomiting addiction). There are one boy for every 20 sick girls, said Bürger. According to statistics, women suffer from eating disorders five times more often than men. This emerges from a study by the University of Leipzig. According to this, eating behavior is disturbed in 5.9 percent of all women in Germany, but only in 1.5 percent of men. A European study shows that young women are eight times more likely to have an eating disorder than older women.

Doctors warn against underestimating the phenomenon of anorexia in young children. Many clinics often refuse to provide information about this condition. In the UK, five-year-olds are already suffering from anorexia nervosa: According to 35 British hospitals, 2,000 children between the ages of five and 15 have been treated for severe eating disorders within three years, 98 of whom were seven or younger. A sign of concern and a trend that needs to be monitored closely. (fr)

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