Posts Tagged ‘Family’

How do I Provide Comfort for my Child in Treatment?

Mother and daughter

Starting eating disorder treatment can be scary for the individual affected—but it can also be a stressful time for parents. When your child experiences a negative food/body relationship, you may struggle to understand why. Their behaviors may seem perplexing and leave you feeling frustrated, afraid, and sad. The Emily Program understands that it’s difficult to watch someone you love struggle with an eating disorder. It’s also difficult to know how to comfort them.

What Will Happen When My Child Starts Treatment?

Eating disorder treatment is a new experience, and like all new things, it can be scary at first. Prior to starting treatment, your child’s eating disorder behaviors may increase due to the stress and fear of starting treatment and confronting the eating disorder. Your child may experience dread, anger, anxiety, or depression. They may also experience relief upon knowing that they are on the road to recovery. All of these feelings are normal. 

For parents, it’s important to be aware and present in the days or weeks before treatment. Make sure to check in with your child about how they are feeling or if they could use any specific support. Reassure them that treatment is a good idea because it will help them to live their best life. Be vocal about your support and be present when they share with you.

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Can how we were Raised Contribute to Developing an Eating Disorder?

Parents holding toddler's hand

Eating disorders are complex and serious illnesses that can cause serious harm to the individual afflicted. Characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s self-perception and food behaviors, eating disorders are biologically-based brain illnesses that are affected by environmental, cultural, and psychological factors. A key aspect of eating disorders is their complexity and the questions surrounding them—what caused my eating disorder? Will I get better? Do other people experience this?

Environmental Factors

There are certain environmental factors that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder including diet culture, the media, and peer judgment. Diet culture is a series of beliefs that idolize thinness and equate it to health and wellbeing. Diet culture manifests in less obvious ways, too, and can be seen in the way that menus portray “healthy” options as superior or how the typical chair size is made for someone thin. These diet culture consequences can plant the idea, at a young age, that thinner is “normal” and something to strive for, which can lead to disordered eating later in life.

The media is largely problematic in its portrayal of the idea that thin is superior. From the majority of celebrities and actors being thin to weight-centric TV shows like “Biggest Loser,” it’s no surprise that society gets the message that skinny is better. This media messaging infiltrates daily lives. There’s billboards of new diets, commercials promoting gym memberships to get you in beach body shape, and reality TV featuring only the thinnest of stars. When faced with this negative messaging daily, individuals can feel intense pressure to “fit in,” leading to dieting, appearance dissatisfaction, and eating disorders.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting in Recovery

Baby in white outfit

Eating disorder recovery can be fragile at times, so it is common to be concerned about if and how your eating disorder may manifest during pregnancy. While pregnancy may trigger eating disorder thoughts about weight, size, shape, or body image concerns, it can also be a time of positive change.

Understanding Eating Disorders during Pregnancy

Many women can become pregnant while in eating disorder recovery. For those who become pregnant while they are suffering from an eating disorder, it is incredibly important to receive proper medical care for both your eating disorder and pregnancy as soon as possible. This care often involves the close support of an OB/GYN alongside an eating disorder specialist. Oftentimes, eating disorders can place pregnant women at a high risk for medical complications during pregnancy—especially if the eating disorder remains unaddressed. However, with proper care and support during pregnancy, it is possible to experience a healthy pregnancy and eating disorder recovery.

Eating disorders may manifest differently in pregnant individuals but they often align with warning signs and symptoms for those who are not pregnant. These signs include:

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How Involved Should I be in my Teen Child’s Treatment?

Woman on computer

When your child is struggling with an eating disorder, it affects everyone in the family. Eating disorder symptoms can be confusing and elicit feelings of frustration, fear, and sadness. It’s difficult to know how to help, especially when you aren’t quite sure what’s going on.

Eating Disorders in Teens

Eating disorders are complex illnesses rooted in biology, psychology, culture, and more. These disorders often present when individuals are in their teens, so it’s essential to keep an eye out for eating disorder symptoms in children and young adults. Warnings signs to watch for include:

  • Dramatic weight changes and/or the inability to meet growth milestones
  • Eating less, eating in secret, or hiding food
  • Frequent and negative talk about food, weight, or body image
  • Excessive exercise to “offset” food consumption
  • Bingeing, purging, or the abuse of laxatives
  • Denial of disordered eating despite the concern of those around them

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The Harmful Idea of Supermom

Mom reading to children

We’ve all heard the word “supermom,” which typically refers to a mother who can maintain all domestic duties alongside a full-time job or a mother that goes above and beyond in providing for herself and her family. While the idea of a supermom can seem like something to strive for, it’s often an unrealistic ideal that comes with serious consequences.

What is a supermom?

In one article, supermom is defined as a mother who wakes up “bright and early, cooks the kids a nutritious breakfast from scratch, drives them to school, commutes to the office, does errands over lunch, picks up the kids, does chores, and tucks them into bed.” In addition to being the perfect parent and employee, the supermom is also the perfect spouse. She exercises to maintain the “ideal” body, eats well, and is always available to support her partner when needed. While these aren’t necessarily bad traits, it’s nearly impossible for any one person to achieve this standard of living.

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Eating Disorders, Medical Complications, and Healing During Pregnancy

pregnant woman holding her belly

Eating disorders can affect all individuals, regardless of who they are or how they identify. For those who are in their childbearing years or pregnant, this time period often overlaps with the age range in which eating disorders (EDs) are commonly diagnosed. Despite the fact that eating disorders and pregnancy can co-occur, there often isn’t an open dialogue about the overlap. With eating disorders potentially causing an increased chance of complications in pregnancy, we believe it’s important to start talking about eating disorders, related medical complications, and pregnancy.

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