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.

Bulimia Nervosa & Adolescents

Bulimia Nervosa is a potentially life-threatening compulsive eating disorder characterized by cycles of binge eating and self-purging. The cycle not only harms the body, but has a serious impact on a person’s psyche. Teens struggling with bulimia are in a constant struggle between the desire to be thin and the desire to binge eat.

Teens know they don’t want to binge-eat and are aware of the guilt that will follow the episode, but the disorder forces them to give in. After the binge is over, teens will turn to drastic measures in an attempt to reverse the binge. Self-induced vomiting, laxatives and excessive exercise are a few common purging methods, while fasting and extreme diets also indicate bulimic behavior. The more teens starve their bodies after a binge, the more their bodies will crave. The cycle becomes more vicious every time it repeats and can make teens feel like they are losing control of their lives.

Bulimia is a complex emotional issue that has no single cause. Teens with poor body image, low self-esteem or a history of abuse are more likely to become bulimic. Extra-curricular events that focus on physical appearance – like dancing, modeling and wrestling – can also pressure teens into developing bulimia.

While teens live with bulimia, they are putting their lives at risk. Dehydration is the most common side effect of bulimia, while abdominal pain, inflammation, chronic sore throat, swollen cheeks, tooth decay, ulcers and chronic constipation are just some of the other complications caused by bulimia.

Therapy is a crucial part of recovering from bulimia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will target the unhealthy behavior and the negative thoughts and emotions that fuel the disorder while teens break the binge-purge cycle.

Parents can identify bulimic cycles by identifying specific physical and emotional signals from their teenager.

Binge eating disorder signs:
  • Eating in secret
  • Eating unusually large amounts of food with no apparent weight gain
  • Irregular meal sizes and quantities
  • Going to the bathroom after meals
  • Laxatives, ipecac syrup or diuretics after eating meals
  • Excessive exercise
  • Smell of vomit
  • Puffy cheeks
  • Discolored teeth
  • Fluctuating weight

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