Open Secrets: Tips for Teens with an Eating Disorder


ATRI presents the following article as a wonderful resource for those potentially affected by, or struggling with, any variation of eating disorder issues

 

If you suspect that you have an eating disorder, you’re not alone. Girls your age are the most vulnerable for developing one. It’s partly due to the strong emphasis for women to look good, stay thin, and maintain certain body measurements that fit within society’s definition of beautiful.

Sadly, the shape of your body and the amount of body fat you carry can heavily influence your sense of self worth and self-acceptance. With enough social and peer pressure, looking good can have a higher priority than your physical and psychological health. It sounds odd that you would hurt yourself for the social acceptance of others, but it happens frequently. And, the truth is, it’s practically expected of women in Western culture.

So, if you’re seeing the signs of an eating disorder emerging, it’s okay. And if you’re looking for help, read more here and follow the tips below to help you get the support you need.

  1. Think through who you know to find someone you trust.  This is going to be a very important conversation. You’ll want to find an adult who you can feel safe with. Likely you will feel vulnerable and possibly insecure. There might be other feelings that will come up that might make you feel uncomfortable while you’re talking about what’s going on. Think through the family members, teachers, counselors, and other adults you know who would receive your disclosure well and, most importantly, who will support you in getting the help you need.
  2. Pick a time to talk when you’re feeling calm. An Eating Disorder almost always has underlying issues such as anxiety, depression, or an unresolved trauma. If you’re feeling upset, anxious, or depressed, wait to have your discussion. Perhaps finding the right environment to have your conversation can help with feeling safe and at ease.
  3. Pick a time when you know you won’t be interrupted. Having the freedom to talk as long as you need is important. It will help you in feeling safe, calm, and relaxed when talking about such an uncomfortable issue. Most teens feel shame when talking about how they have been binge eating, hoarding food, and controlling what they eat. Having uninterrupted time will support a conversation that is focused on your well being.
  4. Write down what you want to say ahead of time. There are parts of your concern that you might want to emphasize. You might have questions or wonder what kind of treatment an eating disorder requires. Writing down your most important points will facilitate a successful conversation where all your concerns are heard.

Once you’ve spoken to someone you trust, finding your way to a mental health professional could be the next step. A therapist, counselor, or psychologist will be able to clinically assess your symptoms and make a diagnosis. From there, treatment can begin. A recent survey of 496 adolescent girls indicated that more than 12 percent experienced some form of eating disorder by the time they were 20. You’re not alone! Talking to an adult can get you the support you need and deserve! Learn more about treatments for eating disorders at the site here.

By Robert Hunt – Robert Hunt is a recovering addict of 20 years.  He has devoted his life to helping others suffering from chemical addictions as well as mental health challenges.  Robert maintains many blogs on drug addiction, eating disorders and depression.  He is a sober coach and wellness advocate and a prominent figure in the recovery community.
Follow me on Twitter
@RecoveryRobert

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This entry was posted on February 13, 2014, 11:18 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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