Having a Child with Anorexia - Find an Eating Disorder Treatment Clinic
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 0.5 to 3.7 percent of girls and women will develop anorexia nervosa over a lifetime, and around 1.1 to 4.2 percent will develop bulimia nervosa. Nearly 0.5 percent of anorexics die each year from the illness, making it one of the top psychiatric illnesses to cause death.
Those suffering from anorexia are extremely fearful of gaining extra weight and may exhibit negative behaviors and actions leading to severe weight loss. Pounds are lost by over-exercising and restricting calorie intake. Anorexics view their bodies in a distorted way. When they look in the mirror, despite being dangerously thin, they see themselves as too heavy. For concerned parents who have children with anorexia, there is an array of assistance available from programs at hospitals, treatment centers, and clinics specializing in eating disorder recovery.
One of the problems in overcoming anorexia is that those with the illness don't usually see it that way—that don't think they are sick. If somebody with anorexia is in immediate danger, they might need emergency care for malnourishment, including dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Long-term treatment entails a team effort with professionals trained in eating disorders, including dieticians, mental health professionals, medical doctors, and treatment centers:
- Dieticians. A dietitian will create meal plans and monitor calorie intake to implement a healthy diet. However, there's more to recovering from an eating disorder than changing one's eating habits.
- Mental Health Professionals. People who suffer from anorexia suffer emotionally and mentally as well. They need change the way they view themselves to boost their self-esteem, and their mood can benefit from carefully prescribed and monitored antidepressants. Psychiatric treatment sessions typically last at least a year and take place one-on-one, with family, or with other people with eating disorders.
- Medical Providers. While those still in the early stages (less than 6 months) typically avoid hospital stays, for people with advanced cases, checking into a unit for anorexia or bulimia may be required. People with anorexia need constant monitoring of electrolytes, hydration levels, and vital signs. A doctor should be involved in the on-going medical treatment.
- Treatment Centers. Clinics across the country provide a live-in environment for children suffering from anorexia. These centers provide a treatment team—dieticians psychiatrists, and doctors—under one roof. Such programs entail an extended stay.
While concerned parents can't force children with anorexia to stop, it is imperative to support them in their struggles. More and more, doctors and patients advocate family-centered therapy—letting parents back into the treatment process. For decades, parents were seen as an anorexic's biggest problem and were even blamed as the cause for the disorder. Research has shown that while parents can influence a child's eating disorder, they are typically not the cause. Known as the Maudsley approach (after the London-based hospital it was developed in), family-centered therapy focuses on helping parents become a support system. Food is the "medicine" to treat the illness, and doctors coach parents and their child through meals and appropriate behavior in a clinical setting. After a few tries, families are then sent home to continue the treatment. Patients benefit from the love and support afamily network provides.
Regardless of the approach settled on, for any treatment program to be successful, those with anorexia need the continued support of family and friends. Following is advice for parents, courtesy of The National Eating Disorders Foundation (www.edap.org):
Educate yourself about eating disorders. Read as much material as you can in magazines, books, articles, and brochures.
Understand the differences between facts and myths about weight, nutrition, and exercise. Being armed with facts will help you reason with your child about the misconceptions they adhere to.
Be truthful. Don't be afraid to voice your concerns to a child who struggles with eating or body image issues. Pretending the problem doesn't exist does not help.
Be loving, yet firm. Loving your means you hold them accountable for their actions and the consequences of those actions. It does not mean you let them manipulate you. Do not make rules or promise you can't or don't intend to uphold, such as "I won't tell anyone" or "If you do this anymore I won't ever speak with you."
Sincerely compliment your child on their terrific personality, accomplishments, or contributions. Reinforce the idea that beauty is not just skin deep.
Be a positive example in regard to your own eating, exercising, and self-acceptance.
Know when to share. It can be hard to know if you should share your concerns with somebody else, if at all. By addressing issues with eating or body image early, you stand a better chance of working through the issues with your child. Don't wait to seek help until your child is extremely sick. They need as much support from you as possible.
Eating Disorder Treatment Clinic
Avalon Hills is an eating disorder treatment clinic located in Utah. They have a very successful program with individualized treatment plans. They treat most eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia. They give each patient a unique treatment plan recognizing that no two patients are exactly the same.
You Can Enjoy Life While Attending An Eating Disorder Clinic
Avalon Hills is a treatment center for individuals suffering with eating disorders. Our intensive and specialized treatment of eating disorders, allows for individualized and smooth transitions through each level of care and recovery. Our staff are trained and educated to provide professional support and efficient treatment, creating an eating disorder treatment center that empowers our patients with a sense of self-worth, independence and long-term results.
We treat various eating disorders including bulimia and anorexia. The atmosphere at our residential treatment center is uplifting and healing. We specialize each treatment plan to your individual needs to help you cope and progress in the best possible way.
Avalon Hills is a positive treatment center. They are not a lockdown facility. They encourage girls to participate in outdoor therapeutic recreation activities including horseback riding. There is over 50 caring staff at Avalon Hills so every girl receives the attention she deserves and needs in order to succeed. They are located in an outdoor area of Utah, which provides opportunities for other enjoyable activities such as swimming, hiking, and skiing. The girls enjoy their time at Avalon through activities, making new friends, and most importantly, overcoming their eating disorder and gaining self-esteem. Avalon Hills is an eating disorder treatment clinic you should check out!
How Adult Eating Disorder Facilities Differ
While all eating disorder facilities will have some common components in their treatments, the centers that are designed for adults will differ in several ways from those for teenagers. The challenges that an adult with an eating disorder faces are not the same as those of a child or a teen and those challenges need to be adequately addressed in order for the treatment to be successful.
Key differences of treatment centers include:
Differences in Admission Rules – for a teenager entering a treatment facility, he/she will generally be required to have a parent/guardian in attendance to give permission for the teen to enter the program and to complete necessary paperwork. Because teenagers are minors of their parents, they can also be committed to treatment without their permission if the parents sign them into the program.
Adults generally cannot be put into a program without their permission unless someone had obtained a power of healthcare right over the adult and that would be fairly rare. The typical adult choosing to enter treatment is not required to have anyone with them, but most programs will encourage the presence of a family member or spouse/life partner to mark the occasion of the person choosing to enter treatment.
Career/Job Focus — eating disorder facilities, particularly inpatient centers, will typically offer supportive classes that help the person to modify his/her life and behavior beyond just how he/she interacts with food. For teens, these classes are typically academic ones to continue their high school classes and not get behind while they are away from home.
For adults that have already completed their education, they may be offered career skill classes and other topics, such as interviewing skills, job search techniques, being successful on the job, performance management and goal setting, etc. The focus is on topics that will allow them to find, maintain and perform well at a job in their chosen employment area.
Living Skills Classes — For teens in treatment facilities, the focus of "downtime" will generally be about peer group activities, such as sports, watching movies, talking with each other, and building friendships and social skills. Structured classes will often be on classes such as setting goals, figuring out what they want to do when they "grow up", anger management, fighting peer pressure, etc.
Treatment for adults will instead offer living skills classes to help the adult cope with the challenges they will face in their daily adult life, particularly areas that can cause stress or fear and which can then feed into the eating disorder and compensatory behaviors. These classes can include topics, such as budgeting, maintaining a checkbook, dealing with difficult people, stress reduction techniques, exercise/fitness classes, nutritional information, etc. Again, the purpose of the classes is to reduce stress that the adult feels about the particular topic and help his/her self-confidence grow in order to prevent a relapse when things get stressful.
Focus of Groups/Therapy — for teens, the focus will be on building and repairing family relationships and finding ways that the family can support and encourage the teen during their treatment.
For adults, the focus will be on relationship skills in general and may include the support of family, friends, coworkers, a life partner/spouse, etc. Teen therapy will typically being addressing issue such as peer pressure, how to cope with the comments of others, and how to be successful in school and creating an adult life, and an understanding of what led to their eating disorder. Adults will be able to focus on a deeper understanding of the factors that contributed to their disorder and also look at the different pressures that adults face in their day-to-day life compared to those of a teenager that is still living at home with their parents.
Again, the overall treatment purpose at an eating disorder facility is to help the person realize the factors and choices that led to his/her disorder, how to change that in the future, and provide educational and supportive classes that enhance the person's self-confidence and ability to make better choices in the future. However, there are definite differences between programs tailored to adults and those to teenagers. It is important for the family and supportive people in the person's life to have an understanding of the treatment program variables, which will allow them to support and encourage the person as they go through each step of the process