Posts Tagged “Teenagers”
Eating Disorder Support For Your Teen Over The Holidays
For people with eating disorders, the holidays—the eating, the socializing, the changes in routine—are often an annual stressor. Intensifying the challenges again this year are the still-high levels of anxiety, discomfort, and fatigue hovering over this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether your family’s 2021 holiday plans are virtual, in person, or some combination of both, supporting your teenager with an eating disorder can be a meaningful part of them. Consider these suggestions to help your teenager navigate the holidays ahead in recovery.
Episode 42: Phototherapy as a Healing Technique with Shauna Frisbie
Dr. Shauna Frisbie is a Licensed Professional Counselor, an approved Supervisor for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC-S), a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (CEDS), and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). She has taught psychology, family studies, and counseling since 2001 and is currently a Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lubbock Christian University.
Shauna joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to discuss the value of sharing and discussing visual content in therapy. Her phototherapy techniques are described in her 2020 book, A Therapist’s Guide to Treating Eating Disorders in a Social Media Age.
It’s Not Just Girls: Body Image in Boys and Men
Charlotte Markey, PhD, is a professor of psychology and a founding director of the Health Sciences Center at Rutgers University (Camden). She is the author of The Body Image Book for Girls, as well as a forthcoming companion book for boys.
While body image has typically been regarded as a female issue, body image concerns can affect people of all genders. Here, we chat with body image researcher, Charlotte Markey, PhD, about body image in boys and men.
Describe your interest in body image.
My interest in body image dates back to my childhood experiences as a ballet dancer. The intense focus on your body when you are a dancer is unfortunate and really fueled my own body dissatisfaction.
It wasn’t until I was an undergraduate psychology major that I started to look at the scars from my years as a dancer. Intellectualizing these issues was (and is!) a great coping mechanism for me. I began doing research on body image and eating attitudes during my undergraduate years and continued to do so when I completed my PhD in psychology. I love doing research and teaching as a professor, but I also really love to make the research accessible to more diverse, public audiences. This has led to my work on book projects, including my recent The Body Image Book for Girls and the forthcoming companion book for boys.
Why has body image traditionally been thought of as a “women’s issue”?
Diet culture and the beauty industry have targeted women for decades. It has long been commonplace for girls and women to want to change their appearance—in terms of both their bodies and their faces. This is not the only reason, but it is one of the primary reasons why body dissatisfaction is normative and festers among girls and women. In contrast, “manly” men have historically been conceptualized as natural, unadorned, and uninterested in fashion or beauty.
Supporting a Child with an Eating Disorder in Uncertain Times
Uncertainty is still all around us. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to raise questions over our finances, jobs, schools, and, of course, our health and the health of those we love. So much remains unknown.
During this long coronavirus blur, eating disorders have not gone away. Far from it. We may have shut down parts of our lives, but eating disorders have not loosened their grip. For some, the pandemic has only exacerbated issues with food and body. For others, it has introduced them, and for others still, it has complicated the already tough, circuitous process of recovering from an eating disorder.
Navigating a child’s eating disorder as a parent can be painful, confusing, and frustrating in the best of times. It’s demanding and it’s stressful. And in a trying year of tremendous turmoil, loss, and unpredictability? It may feel impossible. How can you support your child when racked with fear and anxiety yourself? How do you encourage healing in a world seemingly still so sick? How do you make any decisions or plans when the future is so unknown?
Teenagers and Eating Disorders
We know that eating disorders can and do affect people of all ages.
They’re not a “teenage phase.” They’re not a “teenager’s problem.” They’re mental health conditions that impact children and adults as well.
We also know that teenagers are particularly susceptible to developing these illnesses. Research shows that the average age of onset is between 16 and 18 years, and eating disorders occur in nearly three percent of 13- to 18-year-olds.
It’s clear that eating disorders often develop during the adolescent and teenage years—but why?
How do I Provide Comfort for my Child in Treatment?
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.