Eating Disorders In Teenage Girls

Early intervention and treatment offer their best chance for a successful recovery when teenage girls develop an eating disorder. At Clearview Girls Academy, we understand that female teens suffering from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa need specialized care, intensive therapy, and an environment that makes them feel safe while also providing plenty of structure. While at our residential treatment facility, teens learn the skills necessary to maintain their recovery long after they have returned home.

National and Social Media Helps Fuel Eating Disorders

Unfortunately, today's teens are constantly bombarded with messages from media and society that strongly imply they must be very thin to be considered beautiful. During a period in their life that is already stressful, this puts them at a higher risk of developing an eating disorder because their weight is one of the few things they have complete control over in their life.

As parents already know, there is nothing more important than control when their children reach their teenage years. During this phase of their child's life, parents need to be alert and understand the complexities of the disorder, eating in this case, that their at-risk daughter is experiencing.

It is essential to understand that eating disorders are complex illnesses that can be devastating, both emotionally and physically. Any teen requires professional help that helps them put an end to this destructive behavior and identifies any coexisting mental health conditions, such as depression or low self-esteem, that must be addressed as well.

The CDC Provides Life-Saving Educational Services

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strengthens the health security of the United States. As the nation's health protection department, the CDC saves citizens' lives, protects, and educates teenage girls and young women from serious health threats. These dangers considered health threats include obesity, smoking and tobacco use, and sexually transmitted diseases. To accomplish this, CDC conducts salient science practices and offers health education to teens and young adults worldwide. Fighting against expensive and dangerous health dangers, the CDC responds when these health threats arise.

Parents: Do Not Wait To Get Help for an Eating Disorder

Nearly 86% of individuals suffering from an eating disorder report the onset occurred before the age of 20. For teens struggling with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, therapy and treatment in a safe, beautiful, and peaceful environment often provide the best chance of a successful recovery.

The Need for Treatment for Eating Disorders in Teens

Although there are a small number of individuals who can successfully recover from an eating disorder while participating entirely in outpatient treatment, this is rarely the case. In a residential setting, teens receive professional therapeutic care and peer support, which is necessary for learning effective coping techniques for recovery. At the same time, residential facilities place significant importance on nutrition and choose meal plans that make up for any nutritional deficits while ensuring they do not exacerbate the condition or prompt a relapse.

Eating Disorders and Teenage Girls

Seeing their teenage daughter suffer is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences a parent can go through. Especially when said suffering is primarily due to the social climate in which we currently live; entirely out of their limited control.

Systemic Societal Issues Cause Eating Disorders: Don't Blame Yourself

Teen girls face so many social pressures and often feel they need to be "perfect." The media and celebrity hype continuously pound unreachable ideals into young girls' heads. Unfortunately, many young, impressionable girls feel powerless to reach these expected ideals and end up developing eating disorders that place their lives in danger. At Clearview Girls Academy, we help young girls on a daily basis, helping them overcome their eating disorders so they can pursue their dreams in life.

Unfortunately, teenage girls with an eating disorder tend to be good at hiding their extreme eating habits, even from their parents.

Consequently, when parents finally realize their daughter is in trouble, they often unfairly blame themselves, further complicating an already dire issue.

Suffice it to say that parents must be aware of the warning signs that could indicate their daughter is suffering emotional trauma and needs therapy to overcome the constraints that are preventing her from living a healthy, boundless life. This means not internalizing blame but rather embracing proactive paths that lead to healing.

Don't Miss These Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder:

• Changes in eating by restricting the diet or dieting excessively
• Binge eating
• Hiding food
• Going to the bathroom directly after a meal
• Fluctuations in weight
• Distorted body image
• Using laxatives and diet pills
• Constant stomach problems
• Avoidance of social situations that involve food

If a parent identifies any of these warning signs, it is very likely that an eating disorder could be the cause. That said, it is important young girls receive the treatment they need so their health can be protected. In doing so, teenage girls can learn more effective means of overcoming their life obstacles through healthy means instead of engaging in life-threatening dietary habits.

Parents Appropriately Responding to Their Daughter's Eating Disorder

Emotional fear and stress are the main leading causes of clinical anxiety in our nation's youth. This constant fear and emotional pain can cause teens to change their eating habits and experiment in more dangerous activities. What's worse, Women's Health Magazine reports that there has been a national surge of eating disorders throughout the last three years, and the condition is predictably only getting worse. Many teens and young adults fall victim to this epidemic, leading them to make vastly irresponsible choices that put their lives in danger, such as starving themselves to achieve the "perfect body."

While there are numerous causes as to why teenage girls develop eating disorders, one of the main causes has to do with young women's unrealistic expectations of becoming unhealthily thin, scrutinizing their body, over the minutest details of the way they look. Other common contributing factors involve teens self-medicating trauma, abuse, and neglect through extreme control over their diet - as it is something they know they indeed have control over.

There are two main types of eating disorders we see at Clearview Girls Academy. Anorexia Nervosa is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder that causes young girls to starve themselves. Bulimia Nervosa involves binge eating and then immediately ridding the body of food via vomiting or laxatives. These disorders deeply affect teen girls; they place the same strongholds as drug and alcohol addiction.

So What is a Worried Parent to Do?

Parents must gently encourage their daughters to be proactive when they are unhappy about their physical size and shape. As adults, we must be cautious in the use of our language to ensure that our expectations are not misaligned with a healthy lifestyle. Also, watch your daughter's schedules. Make an effort to not allow your daughter stressed out by due dates, consequences, and other events that add pressure to their lives.

A National Organization Available for Struggling Teens

National Association of Therapeutic Schools & Programs (NATSAP): NATSAP comprehends that families can find themselves highly anxious and stressed when their teen or young adult feels sad and seeking answers (often in situations that make matters much worse). The website has plenty of detailed information to help parents choose between the various eating disorder treatment options available and most beneficial. NATSAP's website also offers stories and helpful Q&A's that parents can ask before they place their child in any formal program. Since they are not a referral or placement organization, NATSAP has a team of volunteers that service and staff programs trying to help struggling teens across the United States and Canada.