Teen Anorexia is a type of Eating Disorder in which teens go to extreme measures to lose weight, because they have distorted perceptions of their bodies. Teens with Anorexia Disorder view themselves as being overweight and starve themselves and/or radically limit the food they eat and will often carry out these behaviors in secret.
The most characteristic symptoms of Anorexia Disorder are the physical symptoms of teens having a warped perception of themselves and compulsively trying to lose weight. However, the emotional and mental symptoms of stress and anxiety that underlie these symptoms are as prevalent and also often the cause for the Anorexia. In fact, it’s very common for teens with Anorexia to have a Co-Occurring disorder, such as Anxiety, Depression, and/or a Self-Injury Disorder.
Beyond feelings of anxiety and depression, it’s also common for teens with Anorexia to experience a source of chronic stress in their lives, which leaves them feeling out of control. As a result, teens toward Anorexic behaviors as a means to have strict control over something in their lives, and therefore, to help abate feelings of stress and anxiety they’re dealing with.
It’s also common for teens with Anorexia to hide and/or their behaviors. Teens may dismiss their behaviors as “eating healthy” and may not honestly articulate their own views about their bodies, for fear of judgment. In cases where teens are hiding their behaviors, they might secretly throw away food, avoid meals altogether, lie about already having eaten, and/or find other ways to avoid confrontations regarding their behavior.
Teens with Anorexia suffer from severe stress, due to the self-judgments they’re always inflicting upon themselves, since no matter how much weight they lose, it’s never good enough. Because teens with Anorexia physically see a distorted image of themselves in the mirror, they become trapped in an incessant chase of a different body, while simultaneously they’re malnourishing themselves in the attempt.
First and foremost, Teen Anorexia Treatment involves ensuring the physical safety of the teen. In some severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary, in order to make sure teens are adequately hydrated and getting the nourishment and calories they need. Beyond this, treatment involves the physical aspect of the eating behaviors that are present, as well as the underlying issues of stress and anxiety that are leading to and aggravating these behaviors.
Teen Anorexia Treatment can be very successful and often teens can begin to gain considerable relief, in a relatively short amount of time. By working with teens to expose and recognize the seriousness of their behaviors, and also helping ensure that they get a healthy caloric intake, teens distorted perceptions can start recalibrate. Simultaneously, because malnourishment and low blood sugar can cause a wide range of difficult physical and mental symptoms, including increased anxiety, teens will often begin to physically feel stronger and clearer headed, even while eating healthy amounts may still be challenging to them. Lastly, as teens begin to address and uncover the sources of stress and anxiety in their lives that are triggering this need for extreme control and regimen of food, they can start to make important connections between their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This is a very powerful foundation upon which full recovery can become possible.
Paradigm New York:
Paradigm New York is a mental health and substance abuse teen treatment facility, located just outside of New York City. Paradigm New York provides holistic residential treatment for Teen Anorexia Disorder as well as Co-Occurring Disorders. At Paradigm New York, we treat teens from New York State as well as around the globe, and we design all of our treatment plans uniquely, according to the teen. Our Teen Anorexia treatment plans involve a combination of aspects including nutrition, mental and emotional health, co-occurring disorders, healthy sustainable habits, and individual, group, and family therapy sessions.