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There are various types of eating disorders that are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders.

They are characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The most common eating disorders teenage boys suffer from including the following: 

  • Anorexia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss and/ or lack of appropriate weight gain in growing children, an inability to maintain appropriate body weight for one’s age, height, stature, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of body image (weight and/ or shape). Young males struggling with anorexia will employ extreme efforts to control their weight and/ or shape. 
  • Bulimia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by a cycle of overeating (bingeing) and compensatory behaviors (purging) in attempts to undo the effects of the binge eating episodes. Purging could include self-induced vomiting, excessively over-exercising, and/ or abusing weight loss medications. 
  • Binge-eating disorder (BED): is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of compulsively eating abnormally large quantities of food (often quickly) to the point of physical discomfort, without engaging in compensatory behaviors. Often binge episodes are followed by emotions of embarrassment, shame, guilt, and/ or distress. 

According to the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders, an estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males. Eating disorders can be debilitating and can adversely affect a teenager’s emotions, health, and interfere with his or her ability to function optimally in his or her daily. If left untreated, eating disorders can result in severe short and long-term consequences. 

Treatment

Teenage boys struggling with eating disorders will require savvy treatment. Effective treatment will help to illuminate the meaning of and understand the function of one’s eating disorder as well as how it fits into their own sense of masculinity. This is completely idiosyncratic and unique to each boy and must be treated as such throughout the entire treatment process. Each adolescent male will require a tailored treatment plan to ensure all nuanced needs are met. Treatment plans for boys with eating disorders may include a combination of certain therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), expressive arts therapies, and more. Young boys struggling with eating disorders are likely to benefit from additional specialized care that is often integral in residential treatment programs, such as regular meetings with a nutritionist, daily meal plans, meal buddies, post-meal one-on-one meetings, and more. The goal of treatment for male teenagers diagnosed with an eating disorder is to help them find a healthy and sustainable relationship with food. While eating disorders are life-long conditions, with proper treatment, a teenage boy can learn how to effectively manage his symptoms. 

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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