Is Your Teenager Eating Too Much? Understanding Binge Eating Disorder

15 June 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


Huge appetites and teenagers seem to go together. It's not unusual to hear parents of teens joking about the cost of trying to keep plenty of food in the house to feed their growing kids.

The fact that teens are known for consuming large amounts of food can make it difficult for parents to recognize eating disorders, especially binge eating disorder. What is binge eating disorder, and how can you determine when your teenager's eating is out of control?

Binge eating disorder

A pattern of consuming large amounts of food in one setting points to binge eating disorder. Your teen may zone out while eating and eat beyond what is needed to satisfy true hunger.

It's not uncommon for the teen to experience feelings of regret following the eating binge. They may feel guilty and shameful afterwards. Your teen may also eat when they aren't hungry or eat in secret.

Those who suffer with binge eating disorder often eat until their stomach hurts. Unlike other eating disorders, sufferers don't use laxatives or induce vomiting following their binges.

Signs of binge eating disorder

Some teens with binge eating disorder tend to eat meals quickly and consume a large amount of food in a short time.

Other teens may do most of their binge eating in secret. They may pick at their food during mealtimes and eat very little but continue to gain weight.

You should look for excessive food wrappers and boxes in the trash if you suspect your teen may be suffering with binge eating disorder. Boxes of food that seem to disappear shortly after you purchase them can be another sign.

You may also find stashes of food hidden in your teen's room or backpack. Some teens resort to stealing food to support their habit.

Dangers of binge eating disorder

Binge eating can lead to health risks. Obesity that begins in the teen years can have serious consequences later in life. It can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

Being overweight can also cause the teen to feel embarrassed. They may withdraw from social activities and prefer to stay home instead. This may eventually lead to other psychological behaviors such as depression and social anxiety.

Treatment for binge eating disorder

If you suspect your teen may be suffering with binge eating disorder, you should talk to them without sounding judgmental. Let them know you want to help them.

Consulting with a psychologist or psychiatrist is important. They can work with you and your teen to find the best treatment options. They can also help establish behavioral weight loss plans to help your child lose any weight gained as a result of the disorder.

If your teen has a big appetite, is happy, and is maintaining a normal weight, you probably don't need to worry about binge eating disorder. However, if you suspect there's a problem with your teenager's eating habits, early intervention and counseling will help keep your teen healthy and happy.

To learn more, contact a psychiatric clinic like Commonweath Affiliates PC