No parent wants to consider the possibility that his or her child has an eating disorder, but this dangerous condition is on the rise among young people, and it’s important that you know what to do if it strikes within your family. Thankfully, there are numerous effective treatments for dealing with an eating disorder. This guide was designed to show you what options are available to you as a parent if your child is suffering from this condition. Here is a look at the causes of eating disorders, eating disorders signs, and eating disorders symptoms.
There are numerous things that you as a parent can do right at home to help your child if they’re struggling with an eating disorder. While it’s true that you will probably need to seek outside forms of treatment as well, doing what you can to be supportive will go a long way in helping your child recover. To begin with, make sure to eat meals together as a family. This will allow you to supervise and ensure that your child is eating enough, but it’s also a good way to help provide moral support as well, since meal times can often be traumatic for people suffering from an eating disorder.
It’s also important that you stay in conversation with your child, but pay attention to the things you say. If he or she is showing signs of recovery, avoid saying things like, “I’m happy to see that you’re looking better” or “I can tell that you’re gaining weight,” since these statements may be interpreted negatively. Instead, find other ways to offer compliments that don’t revolve around physical appearance.
One of the most important things you can do to help your child recover from an eating disorder is finding a counselor or other mental health professional that has experience with the condition. If you’re unfamiliar with the counseling options in your area, your primary care doctor should be able to give you a good reference or at least be able to point you towards someone who can. When you do find someone, be sure that your child trusts and feels comfortable around the therapist—counseling is unlikely to be productive if that’s not the case.
Support groups for eating disorders provide a safe space where your child can talk with others who are going through the same struggles. Even though you may be providing a loving and supportive atmosphere at home, the empathy that your child can receive from a support group may have an even bigger impact on his or her recovery.
Eating Disorder Treatment Centers
In some cases, you child’s eating disorder may be too severe to deal with at home. In these instances, it may be necessary to send them to an eating disorder treatment center. Places like these are staffed with specialists who have lots of training and experience in dealing with the problems your child is facing. The immersive nature of an eating disorder treatment center allows your child the luxury of focusing all their time and energy on recovery, and because of this, centers typically have a fairly high success rate.