Posts Tagged ‘Young Adults’

A Letter to College Students and Others in Eating Disorder Recovery

A college student holding books

By Shannon Brault

As we enter the hot summer days where there is still a virus keeping us from having a “normal” summer, some are preparing to (hopefully) be on campus in the fall either starting or continuing their college careers. While there is so much to learn and everyone is experiencing this time differently, there is no doubt that being in recovery from an eating disorder can make these times extra difficult and lonely. 

Starting college (or any new chapter of your life) can also be extra difficult living with or being in recovery from an eating disorder. You could be away from everything you’re used to and feel out of place in this new environment. It may feel easy to fall back into symptom use when you get stressed, lonely, or overwhelmed, but there are things you can do to be proactive and stick to your recovery. 

Starting college or any new chapter of your life can be scary, lonely, and exciting all at once. Whether you’re going to college, starting a new chapter of your life, or continuing life once this virus lifts, here are some things you can do to help aid your recovery. Recovery can be difficult and requires your full attention sometimes. While it can be difficult, it is possible and it is crucial in order for life to be the way it should be, with food as fuel for your body and not an enemy.

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Identifying Eating Disorders in Children and Teens

A doctor and a female child

Regular doctor visits are essential to a child’s and teenager’s overall health. These routine checkups are an opportunity to not only chart growth and development, but also to screen for a range of physical and mental health conditions, including eating disorders.

In fact, pediatricians and other primary care providers are often our first line of defense against eating disorders. Well-positioned to monitor ongoing health at well-child visits and other physicals, providers have a unique role in detecting and addressing any issues with food and body. Early identification of eating disorder symptoms can help prevent and interrupt the development of these serious disorders.

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Family-Based Therapy via Telehealth

A family preparing a meal in a kitchen

Family-Based Therapy (FBT), also known as the Maudsley method or Maudsley approach, is widely considered the treatment of choice for adolescents with eating disorders. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of FBT, and indeed, at The Emily Program, we have found that adolescent clients who participate in FBT have the best outcomes of any treatment modality we utilize for this age group.

FBT is based on the understanding that families know their children better than anyone else and is anchored by the idea that parents are often fully capable of feeding their children. In the FBT model, parents have control of their child’s weight restoration and are actively involved in their child’s recovery process. The role of the professional is to support the family as they work toward restoring their child’s health.

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Introducing Recovery Club

Girl smiling while holding iPad

The Emily Program has a new group therapy option for Minnesota adolescents! This new group, “Recovery Club,” is open to clients aged 10 to 18 who are receiving outpatient care at our St. Paul, East Metro, and St. Louis Park, Minnesota sites. The one-hour session takes place every Tuesday afternoon via telehealth and will ultimately be held in person in St. Louis Park.

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Teenagers and Eating Disorders

Group of teenagers walking on sidewalk

We know that eating disorders can and do affect people of all ages.

They’re not a “teenage phase.” They’re not a “teenager’s problem.” They’re mental health conditions that impact children and adults as well.

We also know that teenagers are particularly susceptible to developing these illnesses. Research shows that the average age of onset is between 16 and 18 years, and eating disorders occur in nearly three percent of 13- to 18-year-olds.

It’s clear that eating disorders often develop during the adolescent and teenage years—but why?

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How do I Provide Comfort for my Child in Treatment?

Mother and daughter

Starting eating disorder treatment can be scary for the individual affected—but it can also be a stressful time for parents. When your child experiences a negative food/body relationship, you may struggle to understand why. Their behaviors may seem perplexing and leave you feeling frustrated, afraid, and sad. The Emily Program understands that it’s difficult to watch someone you love struggle with an eating disorder. It’s also difficult to know how to comfort them.

What Will Happen When My Child Starts Treatment?

Eating disorder treatment is a new experience, and like all new things, it can be scary at first. Prior to starting treatment, your child’s eating disorder behaviors may increase due to the stress and fear of starting treatment and confronting the eating disorder. Your child may experience dread, anger, anxiety, or depression. They may also experience relief upon knowing that they are on the road to recovery. All of these feelings are normal. 

For parents, it’s important to be aware and present in the days or weeks before treatment. Make sure to check in with your child about how they are feeling or if they could use any specific support. Reassure them that treatment is a good idea because it will help them to live their best life. Be vocal about your support and be present when they share with you.

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