Parents Offer Advice for Families Fighting Eating Disorders During the Holiday Season
Recovery, relapse, treatment, therapy, support groups…When your child’s eating disorder makes the rest of the family feel like prisoners to the disorder, it can all become a mad blur, some parents admit. Add any holiday expectations to this mix, and the season can turn into something you merely want to survive. At the times when the path to recovery seems like a painful, exhausting journey, it’s not always easy to remember that every step in a forward direction will lead to healing. That someday soon, you’ll have your child back, and life will return to a normal state. If your teen is in residential treatment for eating disorder, you’ve probably already done or tried nearly everything you can to help them. But who is looking after you?
What Does Healthy Look Like?
I think it is fair to say that those who struggle with some type of eating disorder have a really hard time with knowing what a healthy lifestyle and diet is. I know this because I once lived a life with anorexia and bulimia for ten years and knew what I was doing to my body was wrong and hurting it, but at moments I didn’t really care. I didn’t know a life without restricting, binging, and purging, so healthy is a word that I never thought I would live nor understand.
Taking an Eating Disorder Seriously
It may not seem like eating disorder behavior is something that you should take seriously at first. Your adolescent may claim to want to lose some weight, or that they are eating someplace else, not at home. There are plenty of excuses that may allow you and your teen to pass it off as nothing, until the eating disorder behavior becomes a serious threat to your teen’s health and well-being.
Center for Discovery has recently celebrated the opening of Center for Discovery Chicago. Our Chicago location will focus on helping adolescents and teens, both males and females, with eating disorders. As with our other teen eating disorder treatment centers, the location is personalized and intimate, only treating a small number of clients at one time. Center for Discovery Chicago is located within a residential neighborhood in Glenview, Illinois.
Click here to learn more about Center for Discovery Chicago
Help For Eating Disorders
No parent wants to believe that their child is suffering or that they have an eating disorder. Often times, it can be incredibly difficult to recognize the earliest signs that your child is in trouble. If you believe your teen or adolescent is showing signs of eating disorder behavior, it is important to understand the seriousness of eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious illnesses that can be life threatening and require specialized treatment for recovery. Helping your child begins with recognizing that there is a problem and then seeking the appropriate professional treatment.
Micro-Biting and Other Habits at the Table
For those who have an eating disorder, the process of eating is a stressful experience. Many worries swim around in the head of these clients. How will I look after I eat this food? How many calories are in this? How much sugar? However, eating must be done to stay alive and so it does occur at times, even for those who are very restrictive in their food intake.
Types of Treatment: What is Outpatient Treatment?
The decision to seek treatment can be overwhelming but it is important to do your research to determine which level of care is most appropriate for you or your loved one. As you may know, eating disorders are complex psychiatric disorders that are best treated with a multidisciplinary team including a physician, nutritionist and mental health professional. Therefore, health, food consumption and behavioral issues can all be addressed. Determining the level of care needed for someone diagnosed with or showing symptoms of an eating disorder/ disordered eating are generally dependent on the severity of the problem. The levels of treatment range from hospitalization and residential programs offered to those who need high levels of care and supervision, to outpatient being for those who require flexibility and need less supervision. So what exactly is outpatient treatment and is it right for you?
Lowest Level of Supervision and Restriction
Outpatient treatment is the lowest level of treatment in terms of supervision and restriction. It is a non-residential setting where clients commute to and from the agency or service provider for a few hours a week. Outpatient treatment provides flexibility because the individual seeking services can still balance and remain committed to activities such as work and school while still seeking treatment. Outpatient treatment has also been said to be more affordable. According to an article in the New York Times, in-patient programs can be costly and the recommended length of stay is usually three months or more. Most insurance companies are therefore very skeptical about providing coverage, leaving many individuals and families with fitting most of the bill out of pocket. Outpatient care options include the Maudsley Method, a family based therapy where families can provide the level of care comparable to a residential program for less cost. Outpatient treatment also provides diversity, where the individual needing care can choose for therapy, support groups, and other mediums of services.
Benefits of Outpatient Care vs Inpatient Care
Although flexibility, cost effectiveness and diversity may seem to be benefits of outpatient care versus inpatient care it is important to think about the following questions. What level of supervision will you or the individual require? Is he/ she going to be able to remain committed to other important priorities such as supporting a family, work or school? What has been tried and was it successful? If the answer is limited supervision and needing flexibility then outpatient treatment may be right for you or someone you know. If not, do not be discouraged just continue to research and consult knowledgeable professionals until you find the best fit.
Lehigh County Pennsylvania. What is Outpatient Treatment.
“How are you? How was school? How was your date? How are you feeling?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Fine. I don’t know.”
This probably sounds familiar if you have a teenager. They learn, consciously or unconsciously, that if they “don’t know,” adults will leave them alone. This phrase not only becomes an escape from adults, but sometimes even an escape from themselves.
For teenagers with eating disorders, “knowing” can be painful and overwhelming. If she knows that she wants to go to a different restaurant than the guy she likes, he might not like her anymore. If he knows that he is disappointed Dad didn’t make it to his game, then it might mean Dad doesn’t love him. If she knows that what her friend said behind her back really hurt, she might lose her friend. In these situations, it can feel safer to “not know.”
All teens struggle at times with self-esteem and self-worth. For teens with eating disorders, particularly, experiencing disappointment, fear, loss, and rejection can be terrifying and personally devastating. Thus, the need to escape from what they “know” becomes part of the perpetuating cycle of the eating disorder. Many clients have said that their eating disorder helps to numb them to these experiences.
Part of our work at the Center for Discovery is to simultaneously draw out what they know (but have denied knowing) of their experiences, while also equipping them with skills and a community of peers and staff to help them cope with what comes up. They have learned to rely on their eating disorder to resolve or erase these experiences, but their self-esteem and self-worth is also lost in the process. We hope that, as they work out these experiences and the overwhelming emotions attached to them, they will experience being cared for, listened to, respected, encouraged and empowered.
Ever Wondered What is Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Eating Disorders?
Different levels of care exist to treat eating disorders. The most intense treatment is hospital based Inpatient Treatment followed by Residential Treatment. A Partial Hospitalization Program, otherwise known as Day Treatment, involves spending the day in treatment, and then going home in the evening to spend the night. One meal and/or snack is eaten at home. The next lowest level of care, the one which this article focuses on, is Intensive Outpatient Treatment, otherwise known as IOP.
What Are the Causes of Eating Disorders
To say that there is one cause or something whose direct outcome results in an eating disorder is almost impossible. Therefore this article addresses some of the factors and trends that seem to commonly correlate with the outcome of an eating disorder. As with most modern day mental health issues, there is the bio-psycho-social approach, which analyzes the biological, psychological, and social/ environmental links to any given disorders.