Why Do Teens Develop Eating Disorders?
Tuesday, 02 April 2019

Because the adolescent years are often tumultuous with many physical and environmental changes happening all at once, rebellious teenagers and eating disorders are common issues that families across America must face. Caused by a complex combination of factors, it can also be difficult for parents to properly identify the symptoms of common eating disorders.

This is one of the biggest reasons why it is important to seek the advice of a medical professional if an eating disorder is suspected. At Clementine center for eating disorders, we specialize in adolescent eating disorder treatment, offering comprehensive care in a safe and home-like setting.

Why Do Adolescents Develop Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders in adolescence are very common. In fact, most women first develop the early signs of eating disorders in their early teen years. Unfortunately, due to television and film portrayals of people with common eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, many parents have misconceptions about what actually causes these serious mental health disorders to develop.

The true fact of the matter is that eating disorders can develop due to a wide variety of different factors. Researchers believe that eating disorders most often develop due to a combination of genetic, psychological, cultural, biochemical and environmental factors. While this can make it more difficult to pinpoint the specifics behind the cause of eating disorders, the available information that we do have makes it much easier to identify those who may be more susceptible to developing an eating disorder.


Genetics may predispose some teens to develop eating disorders over their peers. Research shows that eating disorders can run in families and if a parent has previously had or currently has an eating disorder, their children are more likely to have a similar a condition. Additionally, identical twins are more likely to have an eating disorder versus fraternal twins or other siblings.


Many psychological factors can contribute to eating disorders in adolescence. Eating disorder counseling is often used to treat those who also deal with symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other co-occurring disorders. Some other common psychological signs of teenagers and eating disorders include:
  • Perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulties coping in stressful situations or expressing emotions
  • Feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness
  • Negative body image

Environmental factors can also play a huge role in the development of eating disorders in adolescence. Common environmental factors of teenagers and eating disorders include:

  • Trauma including physical or sexual abuse
  • Peer pressure
  • Family or romantic relationship problems
  • Bullying
  • A difficult childhood
  • Participation in certain activities that may focus on weight and body image. These may include wrestling, gymnastics, modeling, running, and dancing.
Eating Disorder Counseling at Clementine Center of Eating Disorders

If teens or their parents suspect that they may be showing signs of an eating disorder, it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. With the help of comprehensive eating disorder counseling, long-term recovery is possible. At our treatment center for eating disorders, we provide the highest level of medical and psychiatric care outside of a hospital setting. Our goal is to help teens and their families discover the tools they need to work through their eating disorder in a safe and comfortable setting.

Have you or a loved one recently been diagnosed with an eating disorder? If so, the compassionate and skilled team at Clementine can help. Please give us a call at 1.855.900.2221 or contact our admissions specialists online today for more information on the comprehensive adolescent eating disorder treatment services we offer.
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