Teen Binge-Eating Disorder Treatment, What Is It?
Teen Binge Eating Disorder is a clinical syndrome in which a person chronically over-eats, as a means of coping with mental or emotional discomfort or stress. Teens with Binge Eating Disorder regularly binge-eat (or, eat an excessive amount of food very quickly) with no control over stopping, and without connection to hunger or being full. Often, these binge periods are followed by excessive guilt and shame, contributing even more harm to an already low sense of self-esteem.
What It Looks Like
With Teen Binge Eating Disorder, adolescents often overeat and feel as if their eating habits control them. They often have no control over how much or how often they eat, and after eating, feel extremely embarrassed and bad about themselves. The excessive amount of food which teens eat can lead to weight gain and other related health problems, and yet, even amidst such consequences, teens won’t be able to curb their eating behaviors.
Because embarrassment is one of the symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder, often teens will hide their illness and behaviors from others. This may result in things like hiding food, or over-eating in secret.
Teens with Binge Eating Disorder exhibit behaviors such as:
- Eating very quickly
- Over-eating past being full
- Eating alone or in secret
- Feeling disgusted or embarrassed after eating
Some of the health concerns related with being over-weight include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Kidney and liver diseases
- Sleep apnea
- Joint stiffness and swelling
Residential Teen Treatment
Residential Teen Binge Eating Disorder Treatment first focuses on helping teens address their over-eating behaviors, while implementing and overseeing healthy adjustments with diet and exercise. Creating change can be intimidating to anyone, and so at first, this may feel like a giant feat to teens that are used to over-eating. However, therapists provide comfort and support throughout the process, helping create positivity around the goals of change.
Then, therapists help teens to evaluate and address what possible stressors or conflicts are present in their lives, which may serve as “triggers” to their over-eating. This aspect of treatment is crucial in helping teens to uncover possible hidden reasons why they continue to eat, independent of any need or requirement of food. By therapists helping teens to recognize what other needs or wants they may have, progress can be made toward differentiating moments the teen should make the decision to eat, as opposed to moments when food isn’t actually the answer.
Lastly, therapists help work with teens on any other behaviors or belief systems that may be connected with their over-eating, especially such as strong feelings of embarrassment, shame, or low self-worth. By evaluating the falsity of their beliefs, they can begin to work on their perceptions of themselves, which is an important and empowering step toward long-term and lasting recovery.
Paradigm Malibu also often implements group therapy and family therapy sessions. This can be an especially useful time for both the teen and the family to communicate together with the help of an objective, outside party, and help make plans together about how to be successful, once returning home. In group sessions, teens often feel understood and less alone by recognizing that others struggle with similar things, and this can provide a sense of hope and confidence for lasting change.
Is the goal of teen Binge Eating Disorder treatment to lose weight?
Often teens with Binge Eating Disorder become overweight, and this can lead to difficulties with a number of other things, including health risks. Because of this, losing weight may be a healthy change. However, we view weight loss not as a goal of treatment, but rather a side effect, as we help a teen towards a healthier lifestyle, both physically and mentally. If teens lose weight but still suffer from the same feelings of stress and low self-worth as before, they may return to binge-eating and gain the weight back. However, if teens address their illness holistically, and improve their habits as well as their belief systems and related behaviors, then it is very likely they will lose weight and become more physically healthy, overall.