Eating Disorder Recovery at Adolescent Growth

Adolescent Growth specializes in treating teenagers who suffer from eating disorders including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Eating Disorder NOS and Binge Eating.  At Adolescent Growth, we understand that teens who suffer from eating disorders face many special challenges, and treating an eating disorder goes far beyond simply disrupting unhealthy eating patterns.

Causes of Eating Disorders in Teens

There is no single cause of eating disorders in adolescence.  Often there are many risk factors that come together and culminate in the development of maladaptive and unhealthy eating patterns which ultimately fit the criteria for disordered eating.  The following are some risk factors for teenage eating disorders:

  1. Body Dissatisfaction

Teens are particularly susceptible to body dysmorphia and body dissatisfaction.  They are at a time in their lives where their bodies are still developing.  Furthermore, the teen age group is particularly focused on fitting in and social acceptance.  Even a tiny physical flaw or difference can cause a teen a great deal of distress.  Being overweight or underweight can cause a teen a great deal of pain and discomfort, and the desire to be perfect can sometimes lead them down a dangerous path.

  1. Social and Cultural Pressure

Teen magazines and popular culture are squarely to blame for today’s obsession with being thin.  For teens this is a particularly stressful topic because of the intense desire to fit in.  Our culture is inundated with messages that tell us we must be thin, we must control our appetite and we must look good in trendy and popular clothing and designs.  These messages have a profound effect on teens who often turn to dangerous and unhealthy methods to maintain or achieve a low body weight.

  1. Maladaptive Coping

Food plays a pivotal role in our culture, and it is often used as a form of emotion regulation and comfort.  Many teens today turn to food to regulate painful emotions, reward themselves after stressful events or simply to feel good in the moment.  Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder among teens today and most teens who are emotional eaters need help to stop.  On the flip side, many teens find strength in restricting their food intake or purging after they consume food.  All forms of disordered eating are maladaptive ways of coping with difficult and sometimes painful emotions.

Eating Disorders Treatment at Adolescent Growth

A holistic approach toward eating disorder treatment is essential.  At Adolescent Growth, teens with eating disorders are encouraged to explore painful emotions in a safe and nurturing environment and learn new and better ways to cope with painful thoughts and feelings.

Every teen who walks through our doors is treated with an individualized plan that takes into consideration their unique needs, their strengths and weaknesses and the strides that they make throughout our program.  Each treatment plan impacts your child’s mental health in the following ways:

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is provided up to four times per week to teens in need of comprehensive eating disorder treatment.  In individual therapy, teens explore the thoughts and feelings that led to their disordered eating patterns and with the guidance of a licensed professional, they learn to accept themselves as they are and redefine their relationship with themselves and with food.

Group Therapy

Everybody wants to feel accepted by the group, but this basic human need is amplified in teens.  At Adolescent Growth, teens with eating disorders attend several group sessions per day, guided by a licensed professional.  In group therapy teens share their feelings with each other and receive valuable, positive feedback from their peers.  Groups focus on important skills such as emotion regulation, life skills, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and body acceptance.

Family Therapy

An eating disorder affects more than just the sufferer.  At Adolescent Growth, we understand the toll that your teen’s eating disorder has had on you and your family as a whole.  We provide three different interventions that target the effect that your child’s illness has had on you and your loved ones.  Family therapy is offered up to two times a week, where you and your child will have one-on time with a licensed clinician who will focus on exploring unresolved emotions and restoring relationships.  Parent support workshops provide a safe space for parents to receive peer support under the guidance of a licensed clinician who knows your child and the struggles you have faced as a parent.  Finally, our once a week Multi Family Restoration Workshop is a full day of groups and activities designed to  rebuild relationships and restore order to your family as a whole.

12-Step Model of Recovery

The 12-Step model of recovery has helped millions of people redefine their relationships with maladaptive coping tools including drugs, alcohol, anger and eating disorders.  At Adolescent Growth, eating disorder treatment is framed by the 12-Step model, which encourages teens to take responsibility for their behavior, forgive themselves for past mistakes and focus on each day as it comes.  Teens in our care find the 12-Steps are a wonderful set of principles on which they can base their recovery.

Diet, Nutrition and Eating

Teens with eating disorders have a great deal of work ahead of them if they are to redefine their relationship with their minds and their bodies.  At Adolescent Growth, eating disorders are regarded as a symptom of a much larger problem that requires treatment beyond therapy and emotional support.  All meals are planned by a registered dietitian with your child’s particular needs in mind.  Mindful eating is encouraged and teens eat all meals at a stylish dining room table with minimal distractions.  Habits and rituals are broken or interrupted and a normal eating pattern is established.  A new, healthy relationship with food is built based on the premise that food should be regarded as energy and fuel rather than a method of emotion regulation.

Physical Fitness

Teens with eating disorders at Adolescent Growth are encouraged to attain a sense of mastery over their body in healthy ways.  Physical Fitness is taught at a state-of-the-art gym on a daily basis and teens in our care benefit from the natural endorphins and feelings of confidence and pride that come from rigorous exercise.


To round out our holistic approach to treatment, adolescents who suffer from eating disorders are encouraged to embrace their spiritual side and look to a higher power for inspiration.  Spiritual practices including mindfulness meditation, yoga, prayer and non denominational church attendance inspire teens to look outside of themselves for comfort and inspiration.

Help for Eating Disorders at Adolescent Growth

If you suspect your teen suffers from an eating disorder, please call us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888.948.9998.

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