LCP Fix Teen Eating Disorders Treatment - Clearfork Academy

Teen Eating Disorders Treatment

What Are Teen Eating Disorders?

Teenage eating disorders are a group of mental health issues where someone puts too much focus on eating or not eating and their body image. Eating disorders can include many different types of eating disorder behaviors, but they all include anxiety disorders around food, poor body image, and low self-esteem. They are a disorder that is very easy for teens to hide - certainly in its early stages.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Eating Disorders

Many teens who struggle with eating disorders will be able to prevent their disorder from being noticed by those close to them because the signs and symptoms can masquerade as normal behaviors but just to an excessive degree.

Behavioral Signs of Teen Eating Disorders

Teens with eating disorders become masters at hiding it from others, but you may be able to spot some behavioral signs in a family member, such as:

  • Avoiding eating - especially in front of others
  • Unusual eating patterns - not eating or binge eating
  • Excessive Exercise
  • Preoccupation with body image
  • Preoccupation with nutrition or calorie intake
  • Going to the bathroom directly after eating

Physical Symptoms of Teen Eating Disorders

Physical symptoms to be aware of are:

  • Suddenly losing or gaining weight, including extreme weight loss and gain
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Dental issues - due to vomiting
  • Stomach cramps or gastrointestinal issues
  • Extreme thinness or fatness that seems uncontrollable.

Risk Factors and Causes of Teen Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are behavioral responses to things that cause stress, anxiety, fear, or depression. Very often, it is a way for a teenager to create a sense of control in an environment where they feel they have very little agency, for example, at school.

Causes of eating disorders can include:

  • Trauma from physical or emotional abuse, parental divorce, or another upheaval
  • Bullying, particularly online bullying
  • Peer pressure and social expectations - this can vary from their immediate friends discussing body issues to what we see in the media of celebrity weight loss and diet culture
  • Academic pressure can trigger anxiety, stress, and fear, which leads to eating disorders as a coexisting condition
  • Athletic pressure to perform to the highest standard, particularly in activities where there are weight classes, such as gymnastics or wrestling.

Most Common Types of Teen Eating Disorders

The three most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-Eating Disorder.

Teen Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is the most common eating disorder and is particularly prevalent in teens. It involves the restriction of calorie intake and often conducting excessive exercise, as there is a fear they may gain weight. Often, sufferers have a distorted body image - so what they see in the mirror is not real.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Anorexia

Young adults with Anorexia Nervosa may avoid eating in front of people and show obsessive behavior around calories or nutrition. They may exercise to excess, are on a diet plan even though they are slim, and wear baggy clothes to hide their body shape.

Teen Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa involves binge-and-purge behaviors. Young adults with this eating disorder will still eat and may even do so in front of people but will purge themselves afterward through self-induced vomiting or diet pills.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Bulimia Nervosa

Teens with this eating disorder may also eat in secret, particularly at night, and have erratic eating behaviors that they keep private. After eating, they may go to the bathroom immediately. They may have cavities and discolored teeth caused by persistent vomiting.

Teen Binge-Eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder in adolescents manifests as the teen eating a large amount of food very fast, often to the point of discomfort, and then feeling guilt or shame around the behavior. It's often done in secret and followed by a period of restricting certain foods, dieting, and exercise, but not purging immediately afterward.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Binge-Eating Disorder

Beyond the recurring episodes of binge eating, signs and symptoms of this eating disorder are if your teen is stealing or hiding food in unusual places, fluctuations in weight, stomach cramps and digestive discomfort, and sudden lifestyle changes such as dieting and exercising.

Types of Treatment and Therapies for Teen Eating Disorders

Teen eating disorder treatment is therapy based. There are different therapies used in the treatment of eating disorders, and we will tailor a program to suit individuals using one or more of these therapies:

Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy designed to help patients reassess and relearn how they respond to stress, anxiety, and fear triggers. The enhanced type of CBT has been specially designed for eating disorders.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a talking therapy designed to help patients relearn stress responses. However, DBT gives the most benefit to those who feel their emotions very strongly, so it can be particularly useful in treating an eating disorder.

Group and Family Therapy

As well as one-to-one sessions, we encourage group cognitive behavioral therapy to help our patients learn from each other and recover together. We also encourage our patient's family members to be involved in the recovery process with family therapy.

Nutritional Counseling

As eating disorders begin with poor nutrition, our nutritional counseling encourages patients to make healthy food choices, monitor for a healthy weight, and encourage improved health.

Other Therapies

Other therapies involved in treating eating disorders include music, art, and adventure therapy. These offer something physically and mentally positive and can be used in helping create a healthy relationship with food, reducing anxiety and stress around food, and increasing the chances of sticking with eating disorder recovery in the long term.

Level of Care Offered for Eating Disorder Treatment at Clearfork Academy

We offer different eating disorder treatment options, which depend on the severity of the adolescents suffering, the nature of their eating disorders, and whether they have any co-occurring disorders or related behaviors.

Residential Care for Eating Disorders

This is often the best form of treatment for eating disorders as it allows for nutrition rehabilitation alongside therapy, ensuring that adolescent patients gain or lose weight as appropriate. We can monitor their physical health and ensure there are no physical complications during the treatment process when we are caring for them onsite.

What Makes Our Residential Treatment Program Different?

Our residential treatment program uses traditional therapies such as enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy, but we also provide experimental therapies such as art, music, and adventure therapies. We advocate for family-based treatment, ensuring our teens have the support of their families, who take an active role in their recovery journey.

Intensive Outpatient Program

We do offer an intensive outpatient program for those who may not need or suit inpatient care. This provides access to the therapies we offer through our tailored recovery plan, including CBT, DBT, and group and family therapy, and can allow the adolescent to stay at home and in school if they feel more comfortable.

FAQ about Teen Eating Disorders

Below are some commonly-asked questions about Clearfork Academy and the typical teen experience during treatment. If you don’t see your question below, please click here to see all FAQs or reach out to us directly for more information.

How Do I Motivate a Teenager With an Eating Disorder to Enter Treatment?

The most important thing you can do for your teen is to show them that they are supported and that they are not alone in their suffering. Many teens feel shame around eating disorders, but by showing them that you can be trusted and that we can all help them, they will be more open to seeking recovery.


Can Eating Disorders In Teenagers Be Cured?

Though there is a risk of relapse, there is every chance that with our tailored treatment plan designed by our team of care professionals and certified therapists, your teen will make a full recovery. Our treatment team will use evidence-based treatment to help your teen learn the skills necessary to recover from their eating disorder and have a healthier future.


Is It Necessary for My Child to Miss School for Treatment?

Sometimes it is necessary for your child to be in our inpatient program so that we can monitor their recovery, weight gain, and any co-occurring disorders. It is also vital for us to ensure they don't simply become better at hiding their eating disorder or develop new eating disorder behaviors which are easier to hide.


Can Medication Be Used to Treat Eating Disorders in Teenagers?

Medication is not typically used for eating disorder treatment, but instead, we use talk therapy such as CBT and DBT, and we also use nutritional counseling, which will treat the mental health disorder and help your teen work towards a successful treatment with long-term positive effects.


Do We Use Prescription Drugs to Treat Teen Eating Disorders?

No, we do not use prescription drugs or medication in relation to our teen eating disorder treatment, only therapies and nutrition rehabilitation. If there is a co-occurring mental health condition such as anxiety or substance abuse, we may include pharmacological therapy as part of the treatment program, but it is not necessary for an eating disorder alone.


Are There Any Self-Help Techniques for Preventing or Recovering from an Eating Disorder?

Our family therapy sessions will be a great way for you to learn the skills and techniques to help your teen assimilate into their normal life again without the risk of relapse. You will be given all the tools you need by our licensed therapists and care providers during the sessions and throughout the family-based treatment program.


Teen Eating Disorder Treatment at Clearfork Academy

As family members, you may be worried about your teen - call us today and learn more about our teen eating disorder treatment plan and medical care - we are here to help.

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