Teen Eating Disorder Treatment includes treatment for numerous different eating disorders, the most common of which are Bulimia, Anorexia, and Binge-Eating Disorder. An eating disorder is basically defined as a mental illness related to a teen’s relationship with food. Teens with eating disorders are usually preoccupied with food and body image, and often their ideas and perceptions of these things become distorted, leading to increasingly unhealthy beliefs and practices, regarding food.
Often, it can be difficult to identify Teen Eating Disorders because it’s common for teens to hide their problematic behaviors, such as purging, not eating, or over-eating. The secrecy of teens’ behaviors can be extremely harmful, because it negative behaviors and false ideas to continue to develop and intensify. Over time, this can lead to teens being in physical danger, due to the exacerbated effects of their eating habits.
As with many forms of mental illness, Teen Eating Disorders can develop from a number of different causes and often, it’s difficult to determine one specifically. Because Eating Disorders are considered a behavioral disorder, often the illness can develop gradually over time, beginning initially as occasional unhealthy behaviors and/or insecurities, and eventually developing into obsessive behavioral cycles. In this sense, Eating Disorders are very often rooted in teens’ efforts to gain an extreme amount of control in this particular area of their lives. This can be a common response when teens have experienced high levels of stress and/or lack of control in other areas of their lives, such as experiencing a traumatic event or ongoing stressful environmental factors.
The symptoms of Teen Eating Disorders are based on the specific condition, as seen below.
Anorexia is an Eating Disorder characterized by teens going to extreme lengths to lose weight, often limiting what they eat to very little or sometimes even nothing at all. Teens with advanced Anorexia can have distorted body image, where they actually no longer can recognize an accurate reflection of themselves, and regardless of weight, continue to be convinced that they’re fat or overweight. These behaviors can become so obsessive that teens will make overt efforts to hide their behaviors and thoughts, so that no one can correct them or intervene.
Teen Bulimia’s dominating characteristic is teens purging their food, in an effort to lose weight. Instead of eating very little, it’s common for teens with Bulimia to “cycle” through phases of not eating, then over-eating or “binge” eating, following by purging (intentionally throwing up), in order to rid themselves of food and calories. Some of the symptoms and characteristics of anorexia can overlap with bulimia and sometimes teens can have both illnesses at once. Similarly to Anorexia, very often teens with Bulimia also develop distorted body image perceptions, so that they see them as being much heavier than they actually are. Habits of secrecy, lying, and hidden behaviors are common as well.
Teen Binge-Eating Disorder
Teen Binge-Eating Disorder is a mental illness in which teens regularly over-eat regularly, often regardless of hunger. Usually teens with this disorder eat large amounts very quickly, almost to the point of being sick, and very often, these behaviors are in an effort to “self-mediate” or, to provide a distraction or escape from other difficult stressors. Teen Binge-Eating Disorder often suffer from an obsession with food that causes them to think about and/or consume food almost constantly, regardless of any physical need for food. Because it’s common for teens with disorder to gain unhealthy amounts of weight, this can lead to problematic health symptoms.
In order to be successful, Teen Treatment for Eating Disorders must address the physical and mental symptoms of the disorder. Regarding mental symptoms, therapy will help teens to address their beliefs and thought patterns related to eating, their bodies, their self-image, and their identities. By helping teens to talk openly about the unhealthy behaviors they’ve been doing, teens can begin to regain an accurate perspective of themselves and their habits. Furthermore, with the help of their therapists, they can explore the underlying stressors and issues that are leading them to these behaviors, in the first place.
Secondly, teens will also get help addressing the physical aspect of the Eating Disorder. Depending on the severity of the illness, teens might more assistance with reintroducing healthy eating habits and regaining weight, especially in more severe cases. Beyond ensuring that teens are physically stable, therapists can assist teens to learn healthy practices for diet, nutrition, and exercise regimes. And because eating habits are often so intricately connected with teens’ confidence and sense of self, therapists will work with teens to make connections between the physical and the mental, rebuilding their confidence and sense of identity.
Paradigm New York
At Paradigm New York, located just outside of New York City, we provide holistic treatment for all Eating Disorders. In order to provide the most thorough care possible, our treatment plans are designed to address not only the symptoms of the Eating Disorder at hand, but also the underlying issues and struggles which have resulted in these behaviors. Our team of professionals at Paradigm New York is made up of some of the best practitioners and mental health professionals in the country, and we provide services not only to New York residents, but to teenagers from all around the world.