Teen Losing a Lot of Weight? They May Have an Eating Disorder

Posted on: 3 May 2017

If your teen is losing a lot of weight, you need to take this problem seriously, as it could be due to an eating disorder. Below are some tips to help you determine if this is why your teen is losing weight and how you can help them.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are two common types of eating disorders that make a person lose weight such as:


Anorexia, also known as anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder that can be dangerous and can result in death. For example, one out of five people who have anorexia commits suicide. If your teen has anorexia, they may refuse to eat or eat very little, their view will be distorted when they look in the mirror, and they see themselves as overweight even when they're not.

Besides not eating, your teen may exercise obsessively to help them lose weight. People with this type of eating disorder often suffer from bone loss and anemia. They also generally suffer from malnutrition, which causes damage to some major organs, such as the brain and kidneys. Anorexia can also cause hormone imbalances. Females may stop having periods, and males may have a drastic decrease in testosterone levels. Anxiety and depression often go along with anorexia as well.


Bulimia is the exact opposite of anorexia because instead of not eating, people with this disorder binge on large amounts of food, and the foods they choose are generally high in calories.

When they finish eating large amounts of food, they feel guilty and disgusted, so they purge the food through vomiting. In some cases, teens will stay the same weight with this type of eating disorder, but in others they will lose weight if they binge and purge throughout the day.

People with bulimia generally have dental problems, such as increased cavities and problems with their gums. Females may stop having periods. Bulimia can also cause heart and/or digestive problems.


You should never try to treat these eating disorders on your own. The first thing you should do is take your teen to the doctor to ensure there is not a medical reason for this problem. If they are deemed healthy, the doctor will check for malnutrition or other health problems. If your teen is severely overweight, the doctor will likely suggest that you admit your teen to the hospital to receive food through an IV, as well as to keep them hydrated.

They will also need counseling with a qualified therapist who works with eating disorders. You should be able to find a counselor in your area. If you are having problems, ask your doctor if they can recommend someone. This treatment takes time, and it may even take years to completely get over these problems.

Talk with the counselor you choose to learn much more about the type of eating disorder your teen has so you can also help them at home. It can also be helpful to find an eating disorder center California.