1. The eating disorder is not your fault.
You are not to blame for your child’s eating disorder. Genetic and environmental factors are largely uncontrollable.
2. The eating disorder is not your child’s fault, either.
Your child came into this world with many unique traits and tendencies. Traits commonly associated with eating disorders include perfectionism, stress reactivity, high sensitivity and low distress tolerance but affected people do not choose to have eating disorders.
3. Eating disorders run in families.
When a child has a close family member diagnosed with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, they are significantly more likely to also be diagnosed with an eating disorder as compared to the general population.
5. Society plays a role, too.
Society and the media continue to promote and encourage “thin” body types. Diet ads run rampant and weight loss is a common topic for many. Social media incites a “compare and compete” culture in our youth and, sadly, many young people lack the developmental and coping skills necessary to process the images they see in a realistic way.
6. Disordered eating habits change the brain.
The altered nutritional status (starvation and nutritional chaos) that occurs with eating disorders triggers a neurobiological response or “brain change,” which can have lasting impacts for some. Brain changes from eating disorders include:
• Cognitive changes (thinking differently)
• Psychological changes (processing information differently)
• Emotional changes (feeling differently)
7. Other behaviors can also change the brain.
Gateway behaviors (like over-exercising) must also be viewed with caution for those who are susceptible, because even these behaviors can potentially change an individual’s brain structure and function
8. The brain can recover.
Thankfully, the brain can recover and we can bring the brain back from a compromised state. But, the longer an eating disorder continues, the more serious the resulting brain change will be. This is why it is so important to seek treatment early.
9. Full weight restoration is key to recovery.
Weight restoration helps us achieve many goals in treatment, including:
• Bringing the brain back from its compromised state
• Switching off starvation signaling
• Promoting tissue repair and repairing organ system function
Once the above takes place, one’s hormones, body composition, growth, development and stress response will normalize.
10. Help is available.
When your child is suffering, you may feel helpless. However, there are so many resources and treatment options available today to help your child get the treatment they need.