Eating disorders in adolescence. An approach to diagnosis and management

Aust Fam Physician. 2004 Jan-Feb;33(1-2):27-31.


Background: Eating disorders in adolescence are complex problems that may result in significant morbidity. The majority of eating disorders begin in adolescence, a time of critical importance for growth, pubertal development, acquisition of peak bone mass and psychosocial development.

Objective: This article presents a review of eating disorders in adolescence with particular reference to the role of the general practitioner in early recognition of disordered eating and in the ongoing management of adolescents with established eating disorders. Specific management priorities in this age group are also addressed.

Discussion: Eating disorders in adolescence have significant consequences for the current and future health of the affected young person and for family functioning. Early detection and early intervention are key elements in achieving good, long term outcomes. A comprehensive approach to management that addresses physical, psychosocial, family and educational concerns is necessary. The goal of weight restoration needs to be pursued aggressively in adolescents to prevent adverse effects on future growth and bone mass acquisition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Ambulatory Care / methods
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Family Practice / methods
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use


  • Psychotropic Drugs