Being a parent means that you always want to protect your child from anything that could do them harm in their life. However, there are some things that no matter how hard you try, you cannot shield them from. Societal pressures regarding body image and appearances are one such aspect that you cannot fully shield your child from. And because of this issue, many young girls even in middle school develop eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. If you have a daughter who has been diagnosed with this eating disorder, you may wonder what you can do to help her overcome it safely and successfully. Get to know some of the ways that you can help your daughter with her anorexia and begin the healing process together as a family.
Help Her Realize That She Has An Issue With An Intervention
Most people think of the concept of an intervention as only relating to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, interventions can also be performed for disorders that cause other types of self-damaging symptoms and issues. An eating disorder is much like an addiction in that it involves compulsive behaviors that get to the point where they are out of your child's control. The obsession with eating and exercise as well as with losing weight causing the compulsive behaviors are also much like an addict worrying about their next fix.
Because of these similarities, an intervention can help you begin the process of getting your child the help that they need. Interventions can be performed in a variety of ways. With eating disorders, it can sometimes be easier for you to take your child to their doctor's office to have that doctor be a part of the intervention. This is because your child most likely respects the expertise of their doctor and the doctor can provide facts about noticed changes in your child's physical health and the potential health consequences of continued anorexia nervosa.
You can also perform an intervention with a mental health professional who specializes in treating eating disorders. This type of intervention could be less intimidating to your child. Especially if the intervention is done in your home or somewhere else more comfortable to your daughter than a doctor's office.
Get Them Into An Outpatient Anorexia Nervosa Treatment Program
When your daughter is in middle school, it may not be plausible to pull them out of classes to go into an inpatient treatment center. This can cause them serious academic problems as well as social issues. As such, once you are ready to get your daughter into a treatment program, you may want to consider outpatient treatment.
An outpatient eating disorder treatment program will involve mental health counseling (therapy) first and foremost. This mental health counseling is designed to help your child determine the root of the issues that led her to develop her eating disorder. Once your daughter understands where her issues with eating, food, and exercise came from, she can tackle those issues directly and begin to overcome them.
In addition to individual mental health treatments, family-centered treatments are also important. Family therapy sessions can help you and your daughter discuss the issues causing your child's eating disorder, can build trust, and can help you to become the best possible support system for your daughter. Nutrition counseling can also go a long way to help your daughter develop healthy eating habits and a positive relationship with food.
Now that you know a few of the steps that you can take to help your middle school daughter overcome her anorexia, you can get started in the process and be sure that your daughter gets the care she needs to get healthy again.