The abuse of food is on par with the misuse of drugs or alcohol. The behavior directly affects the brain’s reward center. It seeks to stimulate it artificially. For many, it starts as eating disorders in teens before graduating to similar conditions in adulthood.
Common Eating Disorders in Teens
Although eating disorders seem to occur more frequently in teen girls, they also happen in boys. Don’t believe that your adolescent is free and clear just because he doesn’t fit the image of a stereotypical sufferer. A good example is anorexia nervosa. Your teen has an unreasonable fear of gaining weight.
Your teen might go on starvation diets. Bulimia nervosa is the combination of binge-eating with excessive exercising or vomiting. Muscle dysmorphia is a related condition that affects mostly adolescent athletes. It may lead to fad diet participation as well as a possible risk of steroid abuse.
Warning Signs of Eating Disorders
Look for significant weight changes. Moreover, listen to what your teen says about eating. Some excuse themselves from eating with family members. Others seem to be raiding the kitchen in between meals.
Exercise may suddenly be a huge deal. You might find food wrappers or bagged up vomit. You may discover stashes of food that your adolescent hides. They may also start using laxatives and water pills.
Treatment is Possible at Steps to Recovery
Eating disorder treatment recognizes that there’s more to the condition than just a problem with food. In fact, food typically has very little to do with these situations. In some cases, there are addictive tendencies that come to the forefront. You see that someone who misuses food may also abuse steroids, stimulants, or pain pills.
Getting help for all these conditions is possible at Pennsylvania addiction recovery services centers. There, you work with therapists who assist your teen in getting the help they need.
Examples of possible modalities include:
- One-on-one therapy for the psychiatric condition as well as behavioral therapeutic interventions
- Group therapy sessions that provide opportunities for nutritional education
- Coping skills development as a means for handling trigger situations
- Life skills training that includes health education or body acceptance
- Family counseling to enable parents, caregivers, and other loved ones to support healing and recovery
Why Family Involvement is a Key Component to Healing
Eating disorders don’t happen in a vacuum. Sometimes, parents and other adults in the home can contribute to a negative body image. Frequently, they don’t recognize the damage that they do. During family therapy, it’s possible to address negative attitudes toward body image, looks, and weight.
Family involvement also encourages healthy communication styles. It emphasizes the importance of listening skills development. Moreover, you and your loved one recognize words that build up versus those that tear down. Because your teen’s recovery is an ongoing process, it makes sense to start it as early as possible.
Don’t let eating disorders in teens continue. If you suspect that there’s a problem, get help. Steps to Recovery is a venue that offers partial hospitalization as well as intensive outpatient programs. Call 866-488-8684 today to learn more.