Help for Parents of Troubled Teens Including Information on Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Therapeutic Boarding Schools and Wilderness Therapy Programs
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Eating Disorders

Are you or your child suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and other eating disorders?
Center for Discovery can help. Center for Discover has been helping teens and adolescents with eating disorders for over 17 years. Call toll free: 1-855-324-9428.

Anorexia Nervosa & Adolescents

Anorexia nervosa is defined as a “nervous absence of appetite.” It is a relentless fear of gaining weight, eating food and disappointing the body image a person creates for themselves.

Teens with anorexia nervosa often appear to be the least emotionally-troubled amongst their peers. They typically excel in all of their endeavors and place high priority on satisfying people around them. But while they may appear to be happy and healthy on the outside, they are struggling with constant thoughts of doubt and inadequacy. The habit of unending self-criticism forces them to dread their body as they try to become thinner by any means possible.

Anorexia begins to control their emotions; it forces the entirety of their self-esteem to be based on their thinness. Being thin is the only thing that matters, whether it is harmful to their body or not. But no matter how thin they become, they believe they are never thin enough.

While teens with the disorder may deflect any attention to their problem, anorexia nervosa is a potentially life-threatening disorder that can inflict significant damage on their brain, nerves, hair, teeth, heart, blood, kidneys, muscles, intestines, hormones and skin.

The disorder can be set on by the desire to be thin according to cultural norms. Activities like cheerleading, gymnastics or ballet can pressure teens to lose weight. Events like a breakup, puberty, or bullying could also trigger the disorder.

Medical treatment first addresses any serious health issues. Teens that are dangerously malnourished may require hospitalization, while others may require nutritional counseling and emotional therapy to identify and address the difficult emotions and negative thoughts fueling the disorder.

Parents can identify the signs of anorexic behavior by paying attention to their child’s eating habits, or sudden changes in appearance.

Here are some red flags to look out for:
  • Unnecessary or excessive dieting
  • Counting calories obsessively
  • Refusing to eat in public
  • Denial of hunger
  • Social withdrawal
  • Diet pills, laxatives or enemas

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