Posts Tagged ‘Teenagers’

The How-To Guide for Starting your Child in Eating Disorder Treatment

Mom and daughter on cliff

When your child struggles with an eating disorder, it can be a time of fear, frustration, heartache, and confusion. From navigating treatment options to learning how to support your child’s recovery, it can be a complex and challenging time. The Emily Program knows this. Since 1993, we have worked with families and friends to help them support loved ones suffering from eating disorders. 

What is Eating Disorder Treatment?

Eating disorder treatment is specialized care that addresses all facets underlying an individual’s eating disorder along with their current behaviors. Eating disorders are treated most effectively at a specialty treatment center that provides multidisciplinary support. At The Emily Program, intensive care involves a medical professional, therapist, and dietitian. These professionals comprise an individual’s eating disorder treatment team, ensuring that their eating disorder is holistically addressed and that recovery begins with a solid foundation. At The Emily Program, treatment teams provide multidisciplinary, integrative support for individuals of all identities struggling with food and body issues. Treatment may look different for every client and can vary based on the level of care recommended for the individual.

Read more

Why do we Compare Ourselves to Others?

Boy looking at reflection

Teacher and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant once said, “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” If that’s true, why do we do it?

Comparison is in our Human Nature

In 1954, social psychologist Leon Festinger coined the term social comparison theory. At the core of his theory was the thought that people compare themselves to others so that they can learn about themselves or learn how to act in a socially acceptable way. Comparison, in some circumstances, can keep us safe or be a source of motivation.

For example, imagine an individual who enters a new culture. This person does not speak the language or understand the traditions. In order to find food, fit in, or become a part of the community, the individual may compare others’ behaviors with their own to determine whether they are doing what is necessary to adapt successfully to their new environment.  In this example, comparison helps an individual survive.

The social comparison theory also states that humans compare themselves to others to get an accurate gauge on their abilities, to process situations, and to understand themselves. If a high school student wants to get into Harvard, they will likely compare their grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities to those of students who were accepted into the university in the past. These comparisons arm the student with knowledge of how to get into the university and may assist the student in making smart choices in high school. Additionally, if the student finds out that they do not stack up to admitted students’ academic achievements, it could help them to set a realistic expectation and to avoid future disappointment.

Read more

How Do Eating Disorders Present in Males?

Doctor writing on clipboard

As a field, we are beginning to understand that males are at a high-risk for eating disorders and that it is crucial to understand how males present with eating disorders and how we can treat them. Realizing that men have eating disorders is extraordinarily important. Eating disorders are serious and potentially life-threatening and unfortunately, they are often overlooked and trivialized.

The reality of the eating disorder world is that the diagnoses of eating disorders have historically been based on women. Studies to define what eating disorders are have been done primarily with women. The criteria used to describe eating disorders has been normed to women. The professional field is primarily women and treatment is often designed with a gender bias.  However, we are very aware that men (and people of all genders) can get eating disorders and that more men are presenting with symptoms and entering treatment. As a result, we have a lot of work to do to truly understand how males present with eating disorders.

To give an example of how eating disorder treatment is normed to women, we can look at current eating disorder screening tests. Typically, there are statements such as these where a client can answer yes or no.

Read more

How Involved Should I be in my Teen Child’s Treatment?

Woman on computer

When your child is struggling with an eating disorder, it affects everyone in the family. Eating disorder symptoms can be confusing and elicit feelings of frustration, fear, and sadness. It’s difficult to know how to help, especially when you aren’t quite sure what’s going on.

Eating Disorders in Teens

Eating disorders are complex illnesses rooted in biology, psychology, culture, and more. These disorders often present when individuals are in their teens, so it’s essential to keep an eye out for eating disorder symptoms in children and young adults. Warnings signs to watch for include:

  • Dramatic weight changes and/or the inability to meet growth milestones
  • Eating less, eating in secret, or hiding food
  • Frequent and negative talk about food, weight, or body image
  • Excessive exercise to “offset” food consumption
  • Bingeing, purging, or the abuse of laxatives
  • Denial of disordered eating despite the concern of those around them

Read more

Former Clients Reflect on Adolescent Programming

East Metro, The Emily Program

We wanted to share former clients’ reflections on their time in The Emily Program’s adolescent programs.

  • “The Emily Program has helped me a lot mostly because I am a kid and usually these (things) don’t make a whole lot of sense. Thank you.” – Adolescent client
  • “Our family is more open—not just about food, but with feelings. It’s amazing to see how much everything has changed and how willing they are to say how they feel.” – Adolescent client
  • “I feel surrounded and protected—something I didn’t have for many years. It’s nice to have that, finally.” – Adolescent client
  • “Sometimes, you feel like you’re doing the battle alone. Being with the other parents definitely made me feel more supported. There’s a whole bunch of other people going through the same thing with their kids.” – Parent of an adolescent client
  • “I’m here with my daughter. She’s only been in the program for 2 months but I see changes in her already. So it’s nice to know I still have hope.” – Parent of an adolescent client
  • “I want to thank my daughter for being strong enough to face her own issues with her eating disorder. She came to The Emily Program to take back her life and she helped me realize I can do the same.” – Parent of an adolescent client

Read more

When is my Child Ready to get Help?

Teenage Boy Looking out Window

For parents who are concerned that their child has an eating disorder, it can be hard to know when they’re ready for treatment or if they even need treatment. At The Emily Program, we have experience working with thousands of clients and families, all at different points in their recovery. From this work, we understand the importance of properly addressing your child if there is a concern about their eating and food behaviors.

How do I know if my child needs help?

Eating disorders are complex and insidious, so it’s often challenging for parents to know what is truly going on. In order to determine if your child is struggling with eating disorder behaviors, we suggest answering these questions.

Read more

The Emily Program Logo