We all know that the teenage years can be challenging, but for some teenagers, those challenges can be magnified by the presence of disordered eating. As a parent or caregiver, it can be difficult to know when an interest in health and wellness crosses the line into disordered eating. By looking out for certain symptoms, you will have a better idea about the conversation that you need to have with your loved one and the strategy for moving forward as a team.
First, let's define what we mean by "disordered eating." This term encompasses a range of behaviors related to food and body image that can be harmful to a person's physical and emotional well-being. It includes things like restrictive eating, binging, purging, and obsessing over calories and weight. So, how can you tell if your teenager may be struggling with disordered eating? Here are some signs to look out for:
1. Obsessive behavior around food and weight: Your teenager may talk about food and weight constantly, read labels obsessively, and restrict their food intake.
2. Changes in eating habits: They may skip meals, avoid certain foods or food groups, or only eat small portions.
3. Excessive exercise: Your teenager may become obsessed with exercising and feel guilty or anxious if they miss a workout.
4. Social withdrawal: They may avoid social situations that involve food or feel anxious about eating in front of others.
5. Mood changes: Disordered eating can lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings.
If you notice any of these signs in your teenager, it's essential to seek help as soon as possible. Recovery from disordered eating is possible, but it requires support and guidance.
There are several options for getting help, including:
1. Therapy: A licensed therapist who specializes in eating disorders can provide your teenager with the tools and support they need to overcome their struggles with disordered eating.
2. Nutrition counseling: A registered dietitian can help your teenager develop a healthy relationship with food and create a meal plan that meets their nutritional needs.
3. Recovery coaching and companionship: A recovery coach and companion can provide your teenager with one-on-one support, accountability, and guidance throughout their recovery journey.
Remember, recovery from disordered eating is a process, and it takes time and patience. But with the right support and guidance, your teenager can learn to cultivate a healthy relationship with food and their body. If you or someone you know is struggling with disordered eating, reach out for help today. Recovery is possible, and you are not alone in this journey.
If you have tried everything and can not seem to get through to your loved one, an intervention or case management services may be necessary. Reach out and we will help you understand the resources that are available to you and guide you through the difficult process of helping your teenager.
Disclaimer: Recovery Frameworks offers a non-clinical support service. The services and programs provided by Recovery Frameworks do not include medical advice, including diagnoses, medical care, or clinical treatment. Services should only be used in conjunction with the guidance and care of your doctors, therapists, consultants, and/or providers in part of your treatment team.