“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.
Labor of Love: Helping Your Child Overcome an Eating Disorder
It can be worse than overwhelming to discover that your child has an eating disorder that can threaten their life and their future. As a parent instincts can run from denying that there is a problem, to thinking that it is a problem that is easily fixed, to wanting to do everything in your power to fix the problem for them. One of the first and most important things that parents must learn is that their child has a serious and life threatening illness that must be treated by professionals that specialize in eating disorders.
Teenage Eating Disorders Can Be Hard To Spot
With 10% of our teenagers suffering from some form of eating disorder, you might wonder why more parents do not spot the symptoms at an early stage and get their children the help they need. The problem is that teenage eating disorders can be very hard to spot, especially in a home where both parents are working to keep the family going.
Add to this the fact that most teenage eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia do not become obvious until they are fairly well advanced. A determined teenager can hide their eating habits for a long time, convincing their busy parents that they are just trying to lose a little weight if it is noticed at all. It is your job as a parent to keep a close eye on your children and if you noticed major changes in their eating habits, seek medical help to ensure that they do not have an eating disorder or get them the help they need.
At the Center for Discovery, we understand teenage eating disorders and are here to help your child recover fully.
Does Your Child Need Inpatient Eating Disorder Treatment?
If you think or even suspect that your child might have an eating disorder, you need to make him or her appointment with either your family physician or a pediatrician. Eating disorders are a serious illness, they are not a fad and they do not go away on their own. Only a trained professional can make the final determination as to whether your child should be admitted to an inpatient eating disorder treatment facility or if outpatient care will help.
The medical professional you talk to will perform both a physical and a mental evaluation on your child. He will also talk to them to get a sense of how serious their disorder is before recommending inpatient eating disorder treatment. While an inpatient program will help your child recover and get started down the right road, he or she will need to continue with outpatient follow up for a long time before they are likely to be fully recovered from this potentially life threatening disease.
If you would like more information regarding eating disorders is teens please feel free to contact the Center for Discovery, we specialize in helping tweens and teens learn to overcome their eating disorder.
Selecting the Right Level of Care from Eating Disorder Centers
When you need more help than you can provide for your child to help them overcome their eating disorder, you can turn to the professionals at one of the eating disorder centers. They offer a variety of different treatment options including outpatient and inpatient. In most cases an outpatient setting may be tried first to see if they will respond to treatment without the need to be entered into a residential program. Often the decision as to which level of care should be selected is based in part on the patient’s actual body weight when compared to their ideal body weight.
This allows the professionals at the eating disorder centers to make a determination as to how serious the problem is and ensure that your child is going to get the appropriate level of care. With the understanding that both mental and physical states play an equally large role in the decision making process, your child will get the best possible care to help them overcome their eating disorder at the Center for Discovery.
Getting the Family Involved in Eating Disorder Treatments
Any way you slice it, the need for family is a very important part of any successful program of eating disorder treatments. Therapists have learned that while it is important that the person with an eating disorder must receive the appropriate level of therapy and care, the family is also going to need their own form of therapy in order to better understand where their child is coming from and how they need to be involved in helping him or her get to where they need to go.
Eating disorder treatments focus on the family as they have been there throughout all of the bad times and now they need help to come to terms with their child’s disorder. This phase of the treatment program is designed to ensure that the family understands their role in providing support for the patient once they return home from the residential treatment center.
If you have any questions at all about eating disorder treatments feel free to contact the Center for Discovery.
Does My Child Need to be in an Eating Disorder Treatment Center
Most parents are very reluctant to make the decision to place their child in an eating disorder treatment center as they refuse to accept the fact that their child has a problem of any kind. This is a normal reaction as no parent wants to admit that they cannot help their own child. In most cases the child’s eating disorder is fairly well advanced long before anyone is really even aware that their child is having any kind of problem. Once it reaches the stage where the disorder is noticeable to the parents, professional help it more often than not the only solution.
There are outpatient programs that work for a number of children, but the highest success rates in helping children overcome their illness, yes an eating disorder is a form of illness, is placing them in an eating disorder treatment center. Here they will get the benefits of full time counseling and group therapy, along with education and dietary help to give them the knowledge they need to succeed.
The Center for Discovery offers an inpatient eating disorder treatment center for children from the age of 10 through 19 with a wide variety of programs to help them overcome their eating disorder.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs to be in an Eating Disorder Center
The number of teens that have some form of eating disorder continues to increase every year. Most parents are not even aware of the fact that their child has a problem and needs the help that comes from an eating disorder center. Signs are varied, but often include obsessing about their weight; they tend to avoid eating at home and may go straight to the bathroom after a meal to vomit. Nonstop exercise is a common symptom, as you watch your child continues to lose weight to the point of looking emaciated and lose interest in everything around them.
You have to remember that any form of eating disorder is a very serious illness and cannot be ignored. Talk to your family doctor and have him talk to your child about their disorder. In most cases he will refer you to an eating disorder center that can help your child get started back on the long road to recovery and teach them what they need to know to overcome their illness and get back to living a normal life.
The Center for Discovery is the first eating disorder center on the West Coast designed specifically for teenagers.
Getting Your Child to Accept Treatment for Eating Disorders
Many of today’s teens struggle with their self-image among their peers; unfortunately the culture seems to still be projecting the idea that you have to be thin to be successful. This same image has been pushed on our youth for far too long. When this is what your child sees as being the norm and sets off down a very destructive path, you have no choice but to seek treatment for eating disorder. If you don’t the results of this type of behavior can be disastrous.
Getting your child to accept treatment for eating disorders is not likely to be an easy task, it is most likely going to take intervention by a team of professionals. These are people who have been specially trained to work with teens to help them see that they need to enter a treatment program. Once entered into a program, your child will work with a team of specialists who will help them to unlearn the destructive behavior and teach them how to be happy with who they are. From here they will learn to overcome their eating disorder and be ready to return to their family and their lives.
If you have a teen that needs treatment for eating disorders, don’t wait until it is too late. Contact the Center for Discovery and get them the help they need now.
Can Eating Disorder Clinics Really Help My Child?
Having a child that has an eating disorder can be extremely frustrating for a parent. No matter what you do, their destructive behavior continues and you don’t know where to turn. When this happens, you need to seek professional help from someone who has been trained to work with teens that have this type of problem. Today, you will find that there are eating disorder clinics that have been established specifically to work with those between the ages of 10 and 19.
Unlike adult eating disorder clinics, these are targeted at this age group and the staff has received training that is aimed directly at this age group. Teens and tweens require an extra level of care that most adults do not simply because of their age. This is a time in their lives when they are the most vulnerable to everything around them, it is also an age where with the right guidance and they can still unlearn bad habits quickly and be ready to meet the world head on instead of running away from it.
At the Center for Discovery eating disorder clinics, your teen will receive the best possible care and treatment so that they learn to overcome their eating disorder and put their lives back together.