Eating disorders have become more and more prevalent, even more so than what statistics show. Teenagers who suffer from eating disorders have a habit of engaging in harmful behavior and their doctors don't know because they are only asking those who fit the profile the screening questions.
Caucasian older teenage females with a history of harmful abuse get all the right questions asked by their nurse or doctor. Other none typical teenagers may never have the opportunity to answer questions about harmful behavior in correlation to their eating disorder. There is a great need to push for universal screening, if a 12 year old is being asked if they consume tobacco products they should also be asked if they harm themselves.
Those suffering with an eating disorder tend to harm themselves by cutting or burning their skin. This behavior is easily hidden by disfiguring parts of the body that is not seen or by covering it with clothing. The study conducted by researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital suggests that most of the teenagers are open to discuss their behavior with a medical professional when asked the screening questions but around half of the patients are not being asked because they do not fit the profile.
The research concluded that at least 4 out of every 10 teenagers that suffer with an eating disorders harm themselves. This is a huge statistic and most likely the numbers are lower than reality. Most of those that had harmed themselves were of the age of 16 and female but that doesn't mean that a young teenage boy with an eating disorder should be asked if he has engaged in harmful behavior. Universal screening is a must if the medical professionals are to help those who are suffering from harmful addictive behavior.
By Worldwidehealth Editor
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