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At Remuda Ranch, we recognize the importance of early intervention for your daughter struggling with an eating disorder. Here’s some good information about eating disorders and the affect they can have on your daughter’s and your family’s life.
An eating disorder is not a phase or just about food. It is the number one psychiatric illness among adolescents causing mortality. It will eat away at the precious life of your child the longer it develops. Once taken hostage by an eating disorder, it quickly becomes a child’s way of living. It grabs hold of her and she begins using the eating disorder as a way to cope. The longer she is entrenched in it, the more familiar and “normal” the destructive eating disorder thoughts and behaviors become to her. Once in treatment, your daughter will have a chance to finally halt the destructive cycle of the eating disorder and have time to learn and practice new strategies, thoughts and behaviors that support her health and wholeness.
Children and adolescents in particular, need to feel a sense of belonging and “fitting in”.
Young girls who are susceptible to eating disorders are often more vulnerable to others opinions of them and may feel apart from others, but want badly to fit in. Being labeled with an eating disorder does bring attention from others as loved ones may want to fix or make her better. The longer your child engages in eating disorder behavior, the more likely she is to be identified as an eating disorder by others, especially if severe weight loss is present. As the illness progresses, your child may distort reality and see the eating disorder as helping to get her needs met. This identity may represent being special, strong, or in control and the longer it is in place, the more difficult to give up. The effects are isolation and loneliness, not belonging. This identity can put her life at risk. Once in treatment, your daughter will be introduced to learning ways to find her identity separate from the eating disorder. She will be helped to understand what makes her so valuable and begin to discover her unique gifts and strengths.
Childhood and being an adolescent are the most vulnerable periods of time for developing an eating disorder. An eating disorder might be the “first line of defense” in attempts to manage peer pressure, developmental transitions, crisis, trauma, or emotional distress. If your daughter has an eating disorder it is likely that another mental illness such as depression or an anxiety disorder are also present. Your daughter may reach for alcohol or drugs in attempts to soothe her emotional distress. Once in treatment, your daughter will be helped to address complexities of her eating disorder, along with other illnesses that she suffers with. She will learn life skills to manage her daily challenges, and have time to practice these skills preparing her for life once treatment is completed. She will be better equipped to avoid depending on an eating disorder, or substances to manage her life and relationships.
Nutritional deficiencies are a common symptom of eating disorders. Your daughter’s mind and body require food and sound nutrition to make good decisions, have energy to participate in life, and to navigate daily stressors of her young life. Restricting her food for a long period of time will not only impair her thinking and concentration, but also damage her organ functioning such as her cardiac health. If untreated, eating disorders can lead to osteoporosis in young girls and may affect their reproductive health as well. Additionally, your daughter’s mood, self esteem and outlook will be damaged. Depression, loss of hope and intense preoccupation with controlling the eating disorder will affect your daughter’s ability to function and deaden her goals and unique spirit. Timely and appropriate treatment will significantly reduce the risk of medical complications and their severity of the toll the eating disorder takes on your daughter. Once in treatment, your daughter will be helped to restore her medical and nutritional wellness as first priorities to help remove her from danger.
Eating disorders can hold the entire family hostage. Parents as well as siblings often feel powerless to help and are emotionally and physically affected as well. Parents are extremely stressed and confused by what is happening with their daughter. Siblings can become frightened and anxious as well worrying about their sister as she gets sicker. Your daughter may also be burdened with feeling incredible pressure and guilt that she can’t fix herself or everyone else. Over time, the situation only intensifies and everyone falls apart. If other interventions have been tried and have been unsuccessful, it may be time for more intensive treatment. The earlier proper intervention is provided for your daughter, the higher the chances for her successful recovery. Once in treatment, your daughter be helped to understand the factors that lead to the eating disorders and become equipped with tools to defeat it that include life management skills to use beyond her treatment stay. You and your family will also obtain the education, guidance and support to understand the underpinnings of the development of an eating disorder in your daughter and the ways to work together to defeat it. Normalcy can be restored for your whole family. We have seen it work!
If your daughter is struggling with an eating disorder, Remuda Ranch can help you help her. Recovery from an eating or anxiety disorder is possible. It's happening every day at Remuda Ranch. For additional information about our programs, please call to speak to a Counselor at 866-390-5100 or complete a Take the Next Step form and we will contact you with the information you need.