BULIMIA SIGNS AND TREATMENT
Bulimia, also known as bulimia nervosa, is a psychological disorder. It is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled binging (extreme overeating), typically followed by purging (making oneself vomit).
A young person with bulimia may also purge via the misuse various medications related to weight loss, such as laxatives, diuretics, enemas, and or excessive exercise. The episodes of binging and purging are often referred to as a binge-purge cycle. Depending on the teen, eating binges can range from occurring twice a week to several times a day. In some cases, when bulimia gets more severe, a teen may purge after eating simply a small snack, in addition to after a binge. Through treatment, a teenager will learn to integrate healthy and sustainable coping mechanisms for life’s challenges. It is important keep in mind, however, that it is not uncommon for young people with bulimia to be overlooked due to their ability to retain normal body weights.
Signs & Symptoms
An adolescent with bulimia has instilled and regularly practiced an unhealthy relationship with food as a coping mechanism for managing his or her uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, and or as a means to cope with traumatic experiences. There are several common signs and symptoms that a young person may exhibit if he or she is struggling with bulimia. Some of the signs and symptoms listed can occur in young people who do not have bulimia, but it is essential to take note of what some of the regularly displayed examples are:
• Impulsive behaviors
• Excessive exercising
• Regularly going to the bathroom immediately following meals
• Overly frequent use of diuretics or laxatives
• Social isolation
• Hiding food
• Eating to the point of physical pain
• Raspy voice
• Inability to sleep
• Sores in the throat and or mouth
• Low self-esteem/ low self-worth
• Damaged teeth
• Swollen glands in one’s cheeks
• Dry skin
• Cuts, scaring, and or irritation on one’s knuckles from inducing vomit
• Irregular and abnormal bowel movements
• Muscle cramps
A teen with bulimia will most frequently attempt to hide his or her disorder, so it is important to be on the lookout for any combination of the above examples.
Teenagers experience exorbitant mental, emotional, and physical growth through adolescence. Bulimia is not solely about one’s weight, but also revolves around one’s self-image. The psychological nuances and physical consequences that can arise from bulimia are what make it such a complex disorder. At Pacific Teen Treatment, we feel that it is essential to create a unique treatment plan for each of our residents. 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. Additionally, a teen with an eating disorder will work closely with a nutritionist as an integral component of his or her treatment plan.
We have clear expectations of our residents and create daily schedules to help teach healthy habits. Through an individualized treatment plan, a teen will learn to process his or her emotions in a healthy way. He or she will have the opportunity to practice techniques and healthy lifestyle choices while residing in our facility, which will help with the subsequent transition, post treatment. Bulimia is a challenging to recovery process, but through treatment, your teen will go on to live a happy and fulfilling life.
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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