Anorexia in kids and teens is a serious problem, however, there is something that can be done about it, and with the right treatment, it can be managed. The following is a look at getting help for anorexia in kids and teens:
First and foremost, you want to get professional help as soon as possible. The fact is that it is possible to help kids and teens return to a healthy weight, and hopefully not endure any long term affects of self starvation, however, treatment plans are for more effective if you catch the problem early.
No matter what treatment option you choose for helping kids and teens with anorexia, it is going to have the following three components as a part of it:
· Restoring the patient to an appropriate healthy weight.
· Addressing emotional/psychological conditions that may have caused or exacerbated the eating disorder.
· Rehabilitating the patient and preparing for long-term recovery
The idea is not to just get them back to a healthy weight, but also to a healthy mind frame so that they do not fall back into the problem as soon as treatment ends.
Since eating disorders are usually a medical and psychological problem, treatment usually includes working with more than one person in order to get back to full health. Usually treatment plans are customized to fit the child or teen’s needs, but typically involve a team of specialists: a therapist, a nutritionist, and a doctor or nurse practitioner. Treatment or help can be found several ways: through a hospital or residential facility, through therapy session and diet consultation, or a combination of some or all of the previously mentioned options. Let’s take a look at how treatment usually happens.
If the child or teen with anorexia shows signs of severe weight loss, extreme bingeing and purging, dramatic metabolic disturbances, psychosis, and high risk of suicide then their treatment would take place in a hospital or residential facility. In this case the diet and behavior of the person is structured and closely monitored. In the beginning the biggest focus would be on returning the patient to a healthy weight. The doctors and nurses would closely monitor the vitals of the patient, and would likely get them on an IV, and help them to get back to a good weight by ensuring they are eating enough, and that their body is given the nutrients, etc. it needs to return to health.
Once the weight starts to improve, treatment then would start to address other areas that are apart of anorexia, such as the psychological issues like poor self image, low or lacking self esteem, warped body image, and distorted thought patterns that lead to anorexia in the first place. This stage of treatment is most often called psychotherapy, and it can be done through individual or group therapy, and usually involves the family. This is a good time for the patient to learn to appreciate who they are, and what they have to offer, and not focus on weight or health, but personal development.
Once this stage of help or treatment is complete, most doctors recommend that the teen or child is educated on nutrition, and on psychosocial intervention. This is done in order to help them maintain the results reached during their therapy and treatment. They will take classes on how nutrition works, and what they need to do to keep their body healthy. They will also learn how to ignore the images and messages society and the media encourage, and focus on being healthy, not ultra-thin, etc. In addition to this education they will learn how to use medications they might be prescribed to help their body regain full health.