ANOREXIA SIGNS AND TREATMENT
Anorexia, or anorexia nervosa, is a complex, psychological eating disorder. Though people of all ages can develop anorexia, most commonly, the onset of this eating disorder occurs during adolescence.
The exact cause for an eating disorder remains unknown, though there have been many speculations. It has, however, been widely accepted that that behavioral, social, and biological factors do play a role in its development (i.e. genetics, peer pressure, trauma…etc.). Anorexia manifests and perpetuates in a young person because he or she has a distorted body image, which results in unhealthy eating habits. Hence, a multitude of physical, emotional, and psychological adverse effects on one’s body can occur.
Signs & Symptoms of Anorexia
Young people with anorexia will often go to tremendous lengths to avoid eating. Frequently, a young person with anorexia will become abnormally thin and continue to obsess and talk about still feeling fat. There are other signs and symptoms that can be exhibited in teens with anorexia. Some of the examples can include any combination of the following:
• Social withdrawal
• Excessive exercising
• Hiding food
• Denying feelings of hunger
• Discarding food
• Fainting spells
• Dry skin
• Low self-esteem/ low self-worth
• Thinning and or shedding hair
• Brittle nails
As previously stated, it is most common that a teen with anorexia will have a distorted self-view and will think that he or she is too fat, even when being extremely underweight. In addition to restricting one’s food intake, it is also common for teens with anorexia to socially isolate (i.e. avoiding social engagements, not allowing oneself to take part in enjoyable activities, and withdrawing from relationships). It is important to note that each teenager is different, and it is not unusual for a teenager to attempt to hide his or her signs and or symptoms of this disorder.
Unfortunately, there are many medical complications that can arise from anorexia. The physical damage to one’s body and mind from malnutrition can create challenging physiological hurdles. Therefore, it is essential to begin treatment as early as possible. Pacific Teen Treatment creates individualized treatment plans for teens with anorexia. It is also quite common for a young person struggling with anorexia to have co-occurring mental health disorders. This is always taken into consideration during the creation process of one’s treatment plan, as addressing all aspects of the teen’s mental health is imperative to one’s treatment.
Depending on the young person’s specific treatment plan, some of the therapeutic modalities we offer include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), individual talk therapy, and group therapy. There is a delicate balance when treating a young person with anorexia, as his or her relationship with food is complex. For this reason, a teen with an eating disorder, such as anorexia, will work with a nutritionist as an integral component of his or her treatment plan. At Pacific Teen Treatment, we create regular daily schedules and encourage relaxation methods. It is important for a young person with anorexia to foster and practice regular healthy daily choices, as recovering from anorexia will require a drastic lifestyle change. With proper treatment for anorexia, your teenager will go on to cultivate a healthier and sustainable relationship with food. Treatment will help to teach proper skills required for a young person to be able to feed him or herself in a nourishing and healthy way.
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. In order to maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Seeking support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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