Teen Eating Disorder Description:
Teen Eating Disorders refers to a mental illness that’s specifically related to food. In short, teens’ unhealthy relationship with food can lead to negative and destructive effects in all areas of their lives, including their mental, physical, relational, and emotional health. Within this broad category, there are several different types of Eating Disorders, the most common of which are:
Teen Bulimia Nervosa
Teen Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an extreme obsession to lose or control body weight, which leads to the teens cycling through periods of binging (over-eating) and purging (self-induced vomiting or other means to rid the stomach of food.) Beyond the negative physical effects of these consistent behaviors, teens also experience extreme emotional responses during these cycles as well, such as shame and fear about the inability to over-eat and the unhealthy behavior of vomiting. Even in cases where teens are aware of their behaviors, it’s extremely common for them to defend and/or deny the severity of the behaviors to others, often justifying it and/or hiding it from others.
Teen Anorexia Nervosa
Teen Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by teens’ extreme obsession with losing weight leading to them starving themselves (eating nothing or very little) in order to lose or maintain a very low weight. Teens with Anorexia have a distorted image of their bodies, causing them to view themselves as heavier than they actually are. This makes them very vulnerable to extreme and dangerous weight-loss behaviors. Most teens with Anorexia will be very secretive and defensive about their weight-loss behaviors, often insisting that they are just trying to be healthy.
Teen Binge Eating Disorder
Teen Binge Eating Disorder is an eating disorder that’s characterized by teens regularly over-eating a large amount of food in a short time, regardless of actual hunger. Most often, teens do this over-eating as a way to mask or avoid difficult emotional things in their lives. Teens with Binge Eating Disorder develop an obsession with food as a means to feeling better. However, the over-eating often results in them feeling embarrassment and shame, since the underlying emotional struggles still remain. This behavior results in cycles of obsession of eating and hope of feeling better followed by embarrassment and discouragement of their behaviors, which lead to the teens eating again, to try once again to feel better.
Teen Eating Disorder Symptoms:
While symptoms of Teen Eating Disorders can vary according to the individual, there are some symptoms that are common among most teens, including:
- distorted body image
- inability to stop eating when full
- intense shame surrounding eating and weight
- low sense of self-esteem
- fear of eating in public
- secretive behaviors surrounding eating
- underlying emotional struggles which make teens feel out of control
- extreme obsession with controlling weight
Teen Eating Disorder Treatment:
Teen Eating Disorder Treatment most often includes a combination of Talk Therapy and Behavioral Therapy strategies. First off, our Paradigm San Francisco therapists work with teens to discontinue unhealthy eating habits, and ensure the teens’ physical safety. Depending on the severity of the eating disorder, this may be a gradual process and take time, even to ensure that teens are eating healthy amounts, every day. Beyond this, our therapists also work with teens during teen eating disorder treatment to identify what kinds of emotional and life stressors are present in their lives, which are contributing to the behaviors. For instance, often, teens with Eating Disorders are struggling with life circumstances that cause them to feel out of control, which leads them to grasping for extreme control over their eating and weight. By working with teens to address their interior feelings and motivations as well as their outward behaviors, our teen eating disorder treatment supports them not only to recover from their unhealthy behaviors but also to grow and heal in all areas of their lives.
Paradigm San Francisco:
At Paradigm San Francisco, we offer highly individualized treatment for adolescents struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. All of our treatment plans at Paradigm San Francisco are designed holistically, taking into consideration not only teens’ symptoms, but their unique personalities, interests, strengths, needs, and goals. By working with the teens and their families in this holistic way, we’re able to help teens to uncover the deeper underlying triggers and stressors in their lives and identify positive changes that will drastically improve their lives. The goal of Paradigm San Francisco treatment is not just for teens to gain relief from their current struggles, but to grow as people, in every way.