Eating Disorders are Dangerous if Left Undiagnosed and Untreated
The transitional period of adolescence is a tricky one to navigate. Teens are compelled to act a certain way, talk a certain way, and look a certain way above all. The stress to look good and impress their peers is sometimes too much for an adolescent. Sadly, these obligations to look 'good' can cause some teens to develop an eating disorder. Eating disorders are a very severe mental illness. Unfortunately, since only 3% of teens suffer from eating disorders, they are also a mental illness that is broadly ignored. The lack of resources for the disorder is deeply alarming. However, those who develop an eating disorder are at significant risk of damaging their brain, teeth, kidney, or liver. In the most severe of cases, extreme eating habits can even be deadly.
What Qualifies As An Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are categorized as an array of psychological disorders distinguished by extreme or disturbing eating habits of the afflicted individual to achieve a perceived goal.
Female adults and teens are most likely to develop an eating disorder in their lifetime. And, while eating disorders can affect adolescent males, teenage girls are twice as likely to develop one - typically after puberty.
Nevertheless, there is good news; Although inherently dangerous and even life-threatening, eating disorders are highly treatable and can be reversed with proper therapeutic intervention.
The Three Most Common Eating Disorders
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Bing-eating disorder
What Can Parents Do?
If you suspect that your teenage daughter is suffering from an eating disorder, it is vital to act swiftly. Approach your daughter with love and care they need by first calmly addressing the elephant in the room. Be subtle and do your best not to come off as judgemental or condescending.
For example, saying something like, “I’ve noticed that you aren’t eating much at dinner anymore. Are you OK?” would be a good jumping-off point where your words make your daughter feel respected and not placated or looked down upon.
The goal is to allow your teen to talk while intently listening to everything they have to say.
At this point, you must convey how dangerous and even life-threatening eating disorders can be if left unchecked. This part of the dialogue is critical. By calmly yet concerningly explaining the inherent dangers and potential consequences that can lead to death, a teenage girl is all the more likely to understand the severity of her untreated illness.
Next, tell your teenage daughter that, while their condition can be scary, alienating, confusing, and isolating, you are unequivocally there for them and that there is an abundance of specialized treatments for their disease.
Once they fully understand the severity of their condition and agree they need professional help, explain how there are many intensive, albeit healing, psychological treatments that can alleviate their symptoms and psychological need to suppress their eating intake. Explain how the forms of treatment range from one-on-one therapy sessions to intensive, live-in residential treatment facilities.
Finally, inform your daughter that the type of treatment she requires depends on her particular eating disorder's severity, state, and history.
Sometimes Parenting isn't Enough.
Given that eating disorders are severely dangerous and psychologically complex conditions, mere parental intervention isn't intensive enough to rehabilitate teenage girls. What's more, most types of outpatient therapy methods also fall short of curing teen girls of extreme eating habits. In these cases, experts suggest that parents seek the services of a residential treatment center that is specialized in providing round-the-clock, 24/7 treatment, one that is well-versed in treating the complex, underlying emotional and mental issues that contribute to extreme eating behaviors.
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For over 25 years, Clearview has helped young women solve difficult issues such as attachment disorders, attention deficit, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, self-destructive or antisocial behavior, and issues involved with adoption. We will help your daughter get past her emotional and trauma struggles, as we have done for so many others.
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We specialize in treating a wide array of emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders that plague teenage girls, including eating disorders. What's more, we also happen to be much more affordable than most forms of residential treatment. We even work with some leading insurance providers! For more information, please call us today at (888) 796-5484.