In spite all that has been taught to psychiatrists and physicians, parents can help their teenager’s recovery from bulimia nervosa by participating in the sessions and showing support that makes their child feel safe.
It’s an unfortunate condition of today’s age, manifested by an unhealthy obsession about one’s weight, often sparking an issue of not fitting into beauty standards. Bulimia nervosa is a condition through which the patient, often a teenager, has recurrent episodes called ‘binge episodes’ that causes them uncontrolled overeating and then the reactive response of wanting it all out.
They often resort to self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting or intense exercising to compensate for the intake of food and make certain it would not result in weight gain. It’s an unfortunate condition that placed them in peril of esophagus tear, or that can cause electrolyte imbalance and cardiac arrhythmia leading to premature death.
Between 1-3% of today’s American teenagers develop the disorder each year, and they’re often able to hide the tale-telling signs because the majority of them manage to keep an healthy weight. It easily passes by the attention of the parents, and might be too late for help once discovered.
Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco, have conducted a study upon which better therapy should be addressed to teenagers in order to stop their unhealthy habit. According to Dr. Daniel Le Grange who is a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, physicians are commonly told during their training that parents are often to be blamed for bulimic teenagers, so they should be excluded from their sessions.
However, he conducted an experiment on 130 bulimic adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years old, separating them into two groups to discern the differences among two types of therapy. One was the basic cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses individually on the patient, training them to get an understanding of themselves and their irrational habits.
The second group underwent family-based therapy (FBT), where parents were involved in order to understand the disorder and support their children by providing a safe environment. It has shown excellent results.
After the first treatment, 39% of teenagers abstained from overeating and vomiting food with FBT, in comparison to the 20% who had CBT. After 6 months, the percentage lifted to 44% for FTB, and only 25% for CBT, and the gap was further widened after one year, to 49% for FTB and just 32% for CBT.
According to Le Grange, “the findings are quiet clear”, and parents should be allowed to keep an active role in their children’s therapy sessions against bulimia nervosa in order to aid their recovery and help with a quicker intervention before damage is done.
Image source: bulimia.com