Female teens are at the most risk for developing eating disorders. This is particularly true for those who living in industrialized nations. Research indicates that eating disorders occur almost exclusively in developed nations, such as the United States. Western culture plays a significant role in the psychology and the relationship teens have with their bodies.
Of course, male adolescents and adults can also develop the disorder. They too are not strangers to social expectations for looking thin. But eating disorders are more common among females, and the onset for teen eating disorder as well as for body image disorders, such as body dysmorphic disorder, occurs during adolescence.
Teens with eating disorders, if they go untreated, seem to follow a stable course or they worsen from middle to late adolescence. Additionally, if they do worsen, other psychological illnesses can develop, including depression or anxiety. For this reason, it’s a good idea to attempt to answer the question: do I have an eating disorder? And that’s precisely what the tools listed below aim to do. You can find these tools HealthyPlace, within the Eating Disorders Community.
This online Eating Attitudes Test is a preliminary tool to determine whether you have eating disorder tendencies. It does not provide a diagnosis. And it shouldn’t be the only tool you use to gather information about your psychological health. However, it can be a good beginning. And if you find that you have a score of 20 or higher, it’s essential that you see a mental health professional.
Just like the Eating Attitudes Test mentioned above, the Eating Disorder Quiz is another tool to use to gather information about your relationship with food, weight, and body image. It is not a tool to obtain a diagnosis or decide that you do or do not have an eating disorder. However, it can provide enough information to encourage a visit to a psychologist or therapist, if needed.
It’s not uncommon for a teen eating disorder to co-exist with other psychological illnesses such as depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder. For this reason, an effective tool to use is a mood chart. It’s a way to keep track of your highs and lows and emotional states in between. The online Mood Tracker can measure when you are dangerously depressed or overly excited (manic) and can even notify your doctor or therapy. It can also send a text to a family member of your choosing. This can be a powerful tool to keep track of your moods, level of anxiety, hours slept, weight, and the medication you’re taking.
The Body Mass Calculator is a way to measure your BMI, or body mass index. It is a measure of an individual’s relative weight based on his or her mass and height. It’s a simple way to determine whether a person’s body weight departs from what is considered normal. BMI is often used medically and clinically with those suffering from a teen eating disorder to determine their progress.
The HealthyPlace provides other tools such as videos, recommended books, hotlines, and an eating disorder forum. Although only a therapist or psychologist can provide an accurate diagnosis, these tools can be a means to learn about yourself and validate or refute a concern. However, it should be noted that it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If you have a concern about having an eating disorder, contact a mental health professional today.
Tracy, N. Eating Disorders Home. HealthyPlace – America’s Mental Health Channel. Retrieved on June 11, 2014 from: http://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-overview/what-are-eating-disorders-eating-disorder-information/
By Robert Hunt
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