Family Dinners Help Treat Teen Eating Disorders

Teenage Family Eating Lunch Together In Kitchen

Peer pressure and societal influences can cause many teens to feel insecure about their bodies. Even the fittest of teenagers may feel ugly or not good enough for the modern world. This emotional turmoil often leads to the development of eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, or food addiction.

If you are concerned about your teen, something as simple as eating dinner together as a family could be used as a treatment method to get your child back on a healthy track. A new study from Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital shows that integrating family dinners into teen eating disorder treatment can make therapy far more effective. Psychiatrist James Lock, MD says, “Research at Stanford and elsewhere has shown that parents can play a big role in helping their teens recover from eating disorders. For example, we have demonstrated that a specific family-based therapy is twice as effective as individual psychotherapy for treating anorexia nervosa.”

Signs Of Teen Eating Disorders

Here are some eating disorder symptoms to watch for in your teen so you know when to seek treatment:

  • Vomiting, Usually After Eating
  • Eating Little To No Food Throughout The Day
  • Large Volumes Of Food Missing From The Kitchen Or Refrigerator
  • Increased Irritability And Emotional Mood Swings
  • Sudden Changes In Eating Patterns
  • Increased Time In Front Of The Mirror
  • Comments Of Self-Loathing, Especially With Regard To Weight
  • Constant Comparison To Others Based On Physical Appearances
  • Refusing To Eat With The Family

If your teenager is exemplifying any of these signs, talk to a psychologist near you to schedule an evaluation. Patients in the Detroit Metro area may contact Perspectives Of Troy at (248) 244-8644 to set up a time for psychological testing.

Using Family Dinners To Fight Teen Eating Disorders

Family dinners provide the perfect platform for you to bond with your children. This bond helps your teen see that he or she has a support system, which will play a crucial role in fighting off negative emotions. Rather than feeling alone, hopeless, and disconnected, your teen may look to family time for comfort and guidance. Parents with a particularly strong connection with their teens are often able to discuss the underlying issues with their children and come up with solutions to cope. For instance, an overweight teen who feels worthless because of his size could join the wrestling team or football team to work out and put that size to good use.

Sadly, family dinners may not be enough to fully prevent your child from developing an eating disorder. Consider teen counseling as another alternative to help your teenager in this tough time of life. With the right support, your child can maintain a healthy lifestyle and start to enjoy the positive side of life once again. Remember, “You Need Not Walk Alone”.   Call us at: 248.244.8644 and a Specialist in the treatment of Eating Disorders will help your family.