Anorexia nervosa usually occurs in young women, but occasionally afflicts young men. The symptoms include obsessional fear of obesity coupled with refusal to eat, compulsive exercising, severe weight loss and body image distortion. This causes a severely underweight teen to view herself as fat.
Bulimia, which occurs in both sexes, also stems from fear of fat, but includes eating large volumes of food followed by self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse or fasting. The bulimic may also be a drug or alcohol user, and is often of normal weight. Depression and low self esteem have been tied to both anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Another disorder, compulsive overeating, is seen in both sexes and means that the teen eats to cope with feelings like depression, anger, anxiety and guilt. He or she may be somewhat overweight, or obese.
Eating disorders can be health or even life threatening, but they can be treated, and you should be sure to consult your physician.