What Are The Treatment Options for Teen Eating Disorders
If you are the parent of a child with an eating disorder, then you must sometimes feel you’re at your wit’s end. It is indeed heartbreaking to watch your child deteriorate before your very eyes. It wasn’t so long ago that they were the epitome of health—vibrant, active, and full of energy. Then, suddenly, as if out of nowhere, anorexia or bulimia struck and the nightmare that is teen eating disorders became a reality in your life.
Fortunately, there are a variety of eating disorder treatment options available to parents of children with an eating disorder. The type of treatment, however, depends upon the type of eating disorder. Here is a list of some of the options that are presently available:
- Counseling: Counseling can be an effective treatment for teen eating disorders if the condition is detected early enough. Typically, counseling involves going in to see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other professional therapist once a week with the option to increase the frequency of the sessions if necessary. The counseling sessions could last anywhere from 1-2 years, again, depending on the need. Therapists usually view counseling as the first line of defense for teen eating disorders and are usually recommended at the onset of the eating disorder. Most professionals would begin with counseling before moving on to more comprehensive approaches.
- Day School: Day School is an option that provides a safe learning environment for school-aged children afflicted with an eating disorder. Sometimes children with eating disorders are unable to perform well in a typical learning environment, like a crowded classroom, so more exotic approaches must be undertaken. With a day school, the learning environment becomes more personalized as the student/teacher ratio is reduced to just three students per teacher in most cases. In addition, the curriculum is customized to meet the student’s individual needs so that they are able to proceed with their schooling at a comfortable pace, making the learning process less stressful. And, a licensed clinician is always present to provide clinical support if and when it is needed.
- Residential Treatment Centers: Residential Treatment Centers like Visions are designed to provide your child with 24-hour care to meet their special needs. While there, he/she will not only receive the best medical treatment available, but they will also enjoy the benefits of living in a safe environment with plenty of activities designed to help them come to terms with their illness. The length of time your child stays there can run anywhere from 45-90 days. Your child’s stay will ultimately be determined by the severity of his/her condition.
- Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient Treatment is available for severe cases of teen eating disorders that have otherwise proven unresponsive to less restricted treatments. In this case, they will be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a more comprehensive treatment for their illness. There, they will be placed under the care of a psychiatrist who specializes in the care of teen eating disorders. They will live in a structured environment and be given therapeutic meals throughout the day. All snacks and meals will be administered by trained, professional dietitians who know how to be both encouraging and supportive.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of short-term treatment structured to address the psychological aspects of your child’s disorder. It examines how his/her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect their eating disorder. Its goal is to help your child see and understand how his/her thought processes, mood swings, and even personality could affect their eating disorder. Then, therapists will use that knowledge to formulate a plan to counteract those negative behaviors that may aggravate or contribute to teen eating disorders.
- Interpersonal Therapy: Interpersonal Therapy focuses on resolving any relationship problems that may have been the cause of your child’s eating disorder. Being a teenager can be very stressful and things that would ordinarily be considered insignificant to adults may become magnified in their eyes. For example, a broken heart can seem like the end of the world to them and may even lead to depression. Untreated, that depression could manifest itself in the form of an eating disorder. Interpersonal therapy can help teens resolve personal issues like relationships, or even feeling unloved by their parents, by getting your child to discus those feelings openly.
- Family Based Therapy: Family Based Therapy brings the whole family in and lets them become a part of their child’s healing process. This approach will not only give parents a chance to learn about teen eating disorders upfront, they will also learn what they can do to help their child recover. The knowledge parents gain at these sessions is crucial part of being able to detect when their child is deviating from the prescribed program or sliding back into their anorexic or bulimic behavior.
- Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves meeting with a psychologist, or other mental health provider, along with a group of teens with similar eating disorders. The setting is not unlike that of some 12 step programs where members are encouraged to talk about their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors with people with similar illnesses. In this type of setting, patients with teen eating disorders are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings, as they relate to their eating disorder, with the hope that they can view them more objectively. By participating in a group setting, patients will be able to see that their condition is not unique and gain strength in viewing their fight as a team effort.
- Medications: Medications are sometimes combined with other therapies for increased effectiveness. Since depression is one of the main causes of teen eating disorders, anti-depressants are the chief medications used to combat this illness. However, depending on the situation, other medications may also be prescribed. Anti-depressants are especially effective against bulimia nervosa (binge eating) since it prevents vomiting and discourages binge eating. Anti-depressants can also be helpful in reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which often accompanies eating disorders.
Teen eating disorder is a debilitating disease that requires specialized care. Consequently, some expense may be incurred. However, parents should not have to worry about money at a time like this. Visions Adolescent Treatment Center can help make the process of getting help for your child go as smoothly as possible.
Visions Residential is a private pay program and full payment is required from the family. Our team will assist with insurance benefit verification & utilization review.
Visions Outpatient works out of network with insurance. We will provide the following services to our Outpatient families: Benefit Verification, Pre-Authorization, Utilization Review, Billing, and Collections.
Please click below to schedule your consultation or call us at 866-889-3665.