Eating Disorders

Thrive Psychology Clinic > Blog > Eating Disorders

August 11, 2020 / By thadmin2

What I need to know to help my child with Eating Disorders

  1. What is an eating disorder?
  2. What are the consequences of eating disorders?
  3. What types of therapies do Thrive Psychology Clinic provide for children and youths with eating disorders?
  4. Parenting a child with Eating Disorders
    • Support and resources for parents.

 

What is  an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder (ED) is a persistent disturbance in eating behaviour. People suffering from eating disorders exhibit disturbed patterns of eating that impair their health or their ability to function in everyday living. While more commonly found in females, the gender difference is showing a decreasing trend, with more and more males facing challenges as well.

There are many types of eating disorders, with the most common ones being anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder (BED). Within these conditions, more specific subtypes exist. These disorders also tend to affect different age groups. Anorexia is most likely to develop in adolescence, while bulimia is more often found in the early twenties. BED, on the other hand, tends to develop later, from the thirties to fifties. While these reflect trends, it is important to note that any eating disorder can develop at any stage of life.

Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder where people severely restrict their consumption of food, out of a fear of gaining weight. They may do this by directly avoiding eating, eating very little amounts of food, or through purging, where they forcibly remove food from their bodies, such as through the use of laxatives or self-induced vomiting.

Bulimia Nervosa refers to the condition where people go through cycles of uncontrollable binge eating, followed by behaviours to compensate for eating. Such compensatory behaviours can take place in the form of purging, or through non-purging methods such as consuming diet pills or fasting and skipping meals. They may also take drastic steps to reduce weight by over-exercising.

Binge-eating disorder is a disorder in which people have recurrent episodes of uncontrollable binge eating, without any form of purging.

 

 

What are the consequences of Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are among the most dangerous and fatal mental health conditions to have, as all of them directly impact your health and nutrition. In cases of restrictive eating, our bodies become starved of vital nutrients, vitamins, and energy, putting us at risk of a multitude of health conditions and diseases. Furthermore, in the long-run, such deprivation of nutrients can cause irreparable damage to our immune systems and functionings, weakening our body’s natural resistance and again compounding our risk for diseases. Serious damage can occur in many specific parts of our bodies. For women, restrictive eating can lead to amenorrhoea, which is the stoppage and breakdown of the menstruation cycle. Purging by vomiting also causes severe damage and corrosion to our throats, teeth, and gums over time, due to the secretion of powerful stomach acids.

On the flip side, binge-eating disorder can lead to buildup of fat in our bodies and plaque in our arteries, increasing our susceptibility to heart diseases and other health conditions.

Mentally, eating disorders can often result from or be the cause of a range of other psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Body image concerns, guilt from eating, or any other negative thoughts, all contribute to the lowering of self-esteem and adds on to psychological struggles.

No matter the specific type of eating disorder, it is extremely important for the physical and mental well-being for any individual struggling with an ED to get treatment as soon as possible, before long-term, irreversible damage occurs.

 

Enquire about our assessments available.

 

What types of therapies does Thrive Psychology Clinic provide for children and youths with Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are inherently complicated and more difficult to treat. At Thrive Psychology Clinic, our clinically-trained therapists are well experienced in helping clients deal and cope with a variety of struggles, and we recognise the uniqueness of each individual. Hence, we are always broadening our therapeutic services to ensure that all our clients’ have their mental well-being cared for in an individualised manner.

Here are some of the therapies that may help a child with an eating disorder:

  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy
  • Behavioural Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Family Therapy

Finally, if you wish to learn more about behavioural therapy, you may consider checking out our online workshop on the topic.

 

Contact us for an appointment to receive a psychological assessment for your child.

 

Parenting a child with an Eating Disorder.

  • Support and resources for parents.

Parenting in itself is not an easy feat. With eating disorders, the role of parents is extremely vital. For younger clients, parents tend to have more control over the family’s food consumption at mealtimes. It is important to encourage healthy eating and ensure that a balanced diet is provided. Parents can also help their child through emotional struggles and self-image issues, through the provision of love and positive affirmation. At Thrive Psychology Clinic, we recognise the need to support parents and caregivers through:

  • Educating caregivers of children and youths with special needs e.g., workshops and webinars at Thrive Psychology Clinic
  • Providing advice on how to manage their stress
  • Developing their skill in identifying the ABC’s (i.e., antecedent, behaviour, and consequence) such as P.O.W.E.R. in Behavioural Therapy (preview video displayed below)
  • Encouraging caregivers to accept their child with special needs and not feel despair
  • Creating self-help online resources for parents who wish to educate themselves more
  • Regularly providing complimentary educational resources by subscribing to our mailing list and social media platforms

 

References

Hooley, J., Butcher, J., Nock, M., & Mineka, S. (2017). Abnormal Psychology (17th ed.). Pearson Education Limited.