Eating disorders impact the health of thousands of teenagers across the United States each year. A few questions we must ask ourselves are: What exactly is binge eating? How does one go about seeking binge eating disorder treatment? Lastly, how dangerous is it to the health and well-being of a young person?
Many teens who struggle with binge eating disorder never get the treatment they need because they don’t report the problem and their families don’t notice what’s going on.
Much like bulimia nervosa, those living with binge eating problems often go through bouts of uncontrollable eating that usually last fewer than two hours and involve a large amount of food. They can’t control it and they can’t stop, often doing the binging in private in order to avoid embarrassment.
Binge Eating and Guilt
Binge eaters do not purge their food after bingeing as a bulimic might. Rather, a binge eater will simply eat and feel guilty about it later. Many binge eaters are morbidly obese or incredibly overweight as a result and have an incredibly difficult time losing the weight and keeping it off.
Contact Newport Academy today to learn more about our teen binge eating disorder treatment program. We can help you help your child get on the road to healing.
What Is a Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating is similar to bulimia, but without the purging behavior that follows eating. Individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder often experience extreme weight gain and may suffer from a variety of health problems including diabetes. The binge eater feels a profound lack of control over their eating habits.
How Binge Eating Affects Teenagers
A growing problem in the teen community, adolescent binge eating is now listed just behind anorexia and bulimia in terms of frequency in those between the ages of 12 and 17, according to the National Eating Disorders Organization.
The teen binge eater will engage in the behavior alone, away from friends and family.
They eat whether they are hungry or full, and often feel ashamed of their actions immediately following the behavior.
Binge eating is different from other eating disorders in that it strikes young men and women almost equally (as opposed to bulimia and anorexia which are found predominantly in girls and young women).
Why Do Teens Develop Binge Eating Disorders?
There a number of environmental and emotional reasons why teenagers develop binge eating disorders, according to WomensHealth.gov including:
- Stress at school
- Relationship problems
- Conflict at home
- Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety
- Genetic predisposition for the condition
With the exception of genetic issues, all these cases involve teens who use eating as a means of self-medicating. It is an attempt to combat the pain that they are experiencing in their lives for a variety of reasons.
Eating provides comfort; it is a way to cope with stress and anxiety.
When Should You Seek Binge Eating Disorder Treatment?
Perhaps the most common eating disorder of all, teens who live with binge eating disorder may be normal weight or overweight. They binge eat regularly and/or diet obsessively between binges. There is secrecy surrounding the issue. Many parents may not notice the signs of binge eating disorder in their teen until it has become a serious problem. Some signs that your teen needs binge eating disorder treatment include:
- Secrecy or lying about eating
- Large quantities of food disappear from the refrigerator or pantry right without explanation
- Refusal to eat in front of you or with the family
- An obsession with weight
- Lack of self-esteem
- A lack of confidence.
Issues with binge eating will not go away if you ignore them. It is not a phase that will pass. Rather, it is a lifelong problem. Early recognition and treatment can help your child avoid a lifetime overwhelmed by ups and downs. A serious illness that is both medical and psychological in nature, it is important that you locate a teen binge eating disorder treatment center that can effectively address your child’s needs with an understanding of the developmental stage of your teen.
Communication is Key
According to the Academy for Eating Disorders, parents of children who may have a binge eating disorder are urged to employ some of the following strategies to help control the behavior:
- Talk to the child about their eating habits. Without being judgmental, explain the consequences of binge eating and how binge eating disorder treatment is a liable solution.
- Provide healthier alternatives. Having healthier, more natural products in the house will not solve the problem, but will keep the teen away from high levels of processed foods and preservatives.
- Help your child cope with stress. If stress and anxiety cause the binge eating behavior, work with your child to find more positive outlets when they feel angry or stressed.
- Avoid judgment. Instead, be as supportive as possible both during the appointment and after you go home.
- Go to the doctor. If your doctor recommends extended care and treatment, locate a teen binge eating disorder program immediately and begin enrollment.
If the binge eating problem persists, it is time to contact a professional and get the teenager into a counseling or binge eating disorder treatment program.
Binge Eating Disorder Help Hotlines
Staff members manning the phones at binge eating disorder hotlines can talk to you about the behaviors that your teen is exhibiting. They can help you discern whether or not the behaviors are signs or symptoms of an eating disorder that requires treatment at a teen rehab. They can also help you decide whether or not immediate urgent medical care is necessary. Sometimes an outpatient or inpatient program is best for an eating disorder.
See Related: Signs of Drug Addiction
Being Able to Afford Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
Paying for teen binge eating disorder treatment is often one of the biggest obstacles stopping parents from enrolling their child in treatment. Both outpatient care and inpatient treatment are expensive and few parents have enough cash on hand to pay the bill outright. Your insurance company is the first call you should make on this point. Ask them what is and is not covered by your child’s health insurance coverage. For those services that are covered, find out if all or part of the cost will be covered.
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Goals
Goals are designed to help your teen’s therapeutic team focus on specific achievements during your child’s treatment. These measurable goals are both general to the disorder and specific to the needs of your teen based upon their personal experience with the disorder. The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that there are a number of positive goals to look for in teen binge eating disorder treatment programs.
Excessive weight gain is the primary problem associated with teen binge eating disorder. This weight gain can lead to a number of serious health problems including type II diabetes, cardiac problems, respiratory ailments, and other weight-related problems. These issues will be addressed both medically and through psychological therapy and nutritional counseling. Medical care addresses the health problems that have already developed or are in their early stages. Psychological counseling and nutritional counseling as well as the implementation of a gentle exercise program help teens fight the progression of any current health problems and prevent new ones from forming.
Mental Health Goals
Mental health treatment is a crucial part of teen binge eating disorder treatment because binge eating and other eating disorders are classified primarily as psychological disorders and medical issues. Psychological treatment provides your teen with the coping mechanisms to deal with tough emotions in a positive way. Learning how to avoid binge eating in favor of communication, alternative treatments and self-esteem boosting activities is important to long-term recovery.
Addressing the cause of those emotions directly is another function of psychological treatment at a teen binge eating disorder treatment program. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sadness over a divorce or loss in the family, and sexual trauma – all of these issues and more can trigger problems with binge eating. Additionally, the presence of co-occurring behavioral, such as social, learning or psychological disorders, can trigger eating disorder issues. By treating the root cause, your teen can often find relief from the urge to indulge in binge eating.
Post Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Goals
During teen binge eating disorder treatment, your child will meet and exceed their treatment goals, but the treatment plan and attendant goals do not disappear when your teen returns home. Rather, ongoing maintenance and care must be a focus of your teen long after treatment ends so that he or she doesn’t go off track and return to binge eating behaviors. Continued therapy, nutritional counseling and even meeting with a personal trainer can help your teen build new goals that address their changing needs while also helping them to avoid choosing binge eating as a coping mechanism.
Benefits of Teen Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
Whether your teen is living with anorexia, bulimia or binge eating issues, he or she will find life-changing benefits at an effective and comprehensive teen eating disorder treatment program.
Health benefits, psychological benefits and social benefits are all a part of the process when your child addresses the emotional issues surrounding food and appearance and begins to learn how to eat healthfully and reorganize his or her priorities. Though more girls than boys experience teen eating disorders, of the boys who have eating issues, binge eating is the most common, according to Medline Plus.
Health Benefits of Treatment
Helping your child enjoy health benefits is one of the first foci of any teen binge eating disorder treatment program. The damage done during an active eating disorder can cause health problems that are deadly – some that can last for years to come. During teen binge eating disorder treatment, medical care is a big part of the first few weeks of treatment and a strong emphasis on eating foods that contain the right vitamins and minerals follows. Continued medical care is given as needed to ensure that your child is getting the nutrients he or she needs and that any chronic conditions that developed as a result of the binge eating disorder are well under control.
Psychological Benefits of Treatment
Teen binge eating disorders are commonly wrapped up with psychological issues. Psychological care and treatment becomes, then, the biggest part of teen binge eating disorder treatment. Many teens who struggle with eating disorders are also dealing with self-esteem issues, depression, anxiety and/or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). These underlying issues, when treated, can have a major effect on the issue of binge eating. Your child will have the opportunity to work through these issues through at least six hours of personal and family therapy, 12 hours of experiential therapy and 12 hours of group therapy – every week.
Social Benefits of Treatment
When teens stop eating disorders, they will start to feel more comfortable in their own bodies. This is evident in their relationships with peers in the program, with parents and other family members, and in the relationship they develop with their therapeutic team. As they relax their strict expectations for their physical experience, they will begin to experience more joy in their lives and that happiness will quickly spread to their social interactions during and after teen binge eating disorder treatment.
Teen Binge Eating Disorder Treatment at Newport Academy
Would you like to learn more about the benefits of our teen binge eating disorder treatment program at Newport Academy? Contact us today to find the answers to your question, learn more about the family therapy program and discuss your teen’s treatment needs. Our specialists are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call.