Eating Disorders in Teens
Unfortunately, it’s very common for eating disorders to emerge during the teenage years as teenage boys and girls are going through a transformative period physically, mentally, and biologically. As teenagers move towards adulthood, there are not only changes happening physically, but mentally, too. For many, entering puberty can be a very emotional, stressful, and confusing time.
While teenagers are going through a million changes physically and mentally, there is also a social aspect that emerges during the teenage years. Teenagers often want to be popular among their peers and can associate being thin with being accepted. Coupled with mass media’s pressure on teenagers to look a certain way, it is often a confusing and stressful time for adolescents.
At Eating Disorder Solutions, we understand the nuances and stressors that are unique to teenagers and provide comprehensive eating disorder treatment for teens. Find out what causes eating disorders in teens and how Eating Disorder Solutions in Dallas, TX can help you or a loved one.
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What Causes Eating Disorders in Teens?
There is no one cause of an eating disorder and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are highly unique to each individual. Experts link eating disorders to a combination of factors. An eating disorder could stem from family relationships, psychological programs, or genetics. Or the individual may take a sport they are involved in like gymnastics or running to the extreme as they try to manipulate their body into an “ideal” shape.
Anorexia nervosa is associated with a perfectionist personality. Many teenagers with anorexia nervosa have a fear of failing, are overly concerned with mistakes, and set high personal standards for oneself.
Adolescence are particularly challenging years and eating disorders are complex. The causes of eating disorders in teens will greatly vary from individual to individual.
How to Identify Eating Disorder in Teens
- Individual may be always trying to diet, even if they are already slim
- The teenager may eat secretly or alone, especially at night
- Their weight fluctuates often
- The teenager may hide food from their family
- They make excuses to avoid eating
- The teenager wears baggy clothes to hide their shape
- The teenager may be obsessed with exercise
- They seem overly concerned with their size or shape
- The individual may experiment with diet pills or laxatives in order to lose weight
- Teenager may avoid social situations involving eating
- Individual visits a bathroom immediately following a meal
Unfortunately, many teenagers suffer from an eating disorder in silence. While sometimes the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder can be obvious, other times teenagers will go to great lengths in order to hide an eating disorder. You may be able to identify your teenager’s eating disorder by checking their mood. They are often moody, anxious, and depressed, and may withdraw from friends.
How Eating Disorders Can Vary from Teenage Boys to Teenage Girls
While girls are far more likely to have eating disorders, teenage boys are susceptible as eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of their gender. However, eating disorders in teenage males will vary from eating disorders in teenage females. For example, while eating disorders in females greatly revolves around the need to be thin, the drive for men is to gain muscularity. The preoccupation with body weight and shape leads to disordered eating and exercise practices. Teenage males are more likely to choose dangerous means to achieve their goals by restricting their calories or trying anabolic steroids to achieve a more muscular look.
The greatest problem with eating disorder in teenage males is they are less likely to be diagnosed and their symptoms are often dismissed because of their gender. The core issue, regardless of being a teenage male or female, or thinness-oriented or muscularity-oriented, is a fixation in shape and weight. It’s important to find the origin of the fixation, whether it’s trauma, biology, environment, or culture in order to treat the teenager’s eating disorder.
Teen Eating Disorder Treatment
If you believe your teen has an eating disorder, it’s important to seek teen eating disorder treatment immediately. By getting help early, your teen can prevent the health risks associated with eating disorders and have a better chance of recovery.
Eating Disorder Solutions offers a full continuum of care to teenagers ages 14-17 at our facility in Dallas, TX. We believe in a holistic approach to teen eating disorder treatment that supports the individual’s mind, body, soul, and spirit. What sets us apart from other teen eating disorder treatment centers is that we seek to get to the root of the issue, whether it is an external stressor or co-occurring mental disorder. By addressing underlying mental and physical aspects of the eating disorder, teens will have a better chance of recovery.
In order to meet each person’s unique needs, we personalize every treatment plan. We provide a continuum of care to meet our clients where they are at in the recovery process:
- Intensive Outpatient Program: Individuals return to living at home and visit our treatment center three days a week for four hours each day.
- Outpatient Program: The lowest level of care at our facility and is meant to supplement the work already done in one of our more intense programs.
Our full continuum of treatment provides teens with guidance and support through every step of the process. As the individual progresses, they can move through our other levels of care from intense treatment to full independence.
How Parents Can Help their Teenager with an Eating Disorder
If you suspect your teenager has an eating disorder, it’s important to encourage them to seek help. Parents of children under 18 can often require that their child’s eating disorder be treated, even if the child doesn’t buy in to the idea that treatment is necessary, however, it’s most important to have an open dialogue with your child throughout the process.
Remember, taking the first step towards recovery is scary and challenging. Families, and specifically parents, are an integral part of the treatment program for teenage boys and teenage girls. At Eating Disorder Solutions, we incorporate family therapy into our treatment program to provide you with the tools and resources to understand what your child is going through and to provide them with support during and after their treatment.
Contact Eating Disorder Solutions for Eating Disorder Treatment for Teens
Seeking eating disorder treatment is the most important step that you can take whether it is for yourself or a loved one. Our eating disorder treatment for teens helps those struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating or other specified eating disorders regain their independence and live a healthy, fulfilling life.
Recovery is possible. Call Eating Disorder Solutions in Dallas, TX to begin your journey to recovery today.