Teenagers who come to our wellness programs are often struggling with a variety of challenges, from poor performance in school to negative behaviors and belief systems, and often various levels of food and exercise addictions. The extent of a student’s addictive use of caffeine, sugar, over-eating, laxatives, over-exercising, low self-esteem and negative body image is not always clear to parents and close friends.
If you have even the slightest suspicion that your son or daughter is struggling in these area, chances are extremely high that they are — and that there is an underlying root cause. From Day 1 at Rites of Passage NW Wilderness Therapy, we start delving into the extent of their food and behavioral addictions and the negative motivators that have led them down that path. Using laxatives and binge-eating is exercising poor judgment and needs to be addressed.
Parents and medical staff can often be the last to know of an existing issue, and some adolescents are more at risk of later developing substance-abuse-related disorders if the underlying root causes of over-eating and an inactive lifestyle are not addressed early on. They include:
• Children with substance abusers or alcoholics in the family
• Adolescents who are victims of physical, sexual or psychological abuse
• And adolescents with mental health problems, especially depressed and suicidal teens.
Symptoms your child is struggling with a food addiction
• Lying, especially about how much they are eating
• Using laxatives and weighing themselves excessively
• Drinking vast amounts of diet soda to suppress appetite
• Avoiding friends and family members
• Giving up activities they used to enjoy, such as sports or spending time with family
• Increased levels of anger and defiance
• Believing they need to eat certain foods in order to feel satisfied
• Taking risks and exercising poor judgment
• Showing poor work performance and/or a drop in grades
• Missing school or work due to low self-esteem and anxiety
• Feeling depressed, hopeless, or suicidal
Rites of Passage incorporates the a multi-layered therapy approach along with self-esteem boosting opportunities to tackle the root cause and the effect. We identify “trigger foods” and teach classes on “Mood Foods” and “Happy Foods” which are fun and educating. We run relapse-prevention workshops with our students and family members, and have a full aftercare plan in place before a student graduates
Please call us now if you believe your child or loved one is struggling with food addiction.