While in eating disorder treatment, teens with anorexia will learn several helpful coping skills that assist them become and remain recovered. To help them learn and embrace these skills, treatment centers often provide teens with an anorexia workbook. As teens move through the workbook, they learn how to manage stress and cope with daily life without relying on disordered thoughts and behaviors.

Parents and other caregivers also need to know about the anorexia recovery skills to provide their teens with the perfect level of support. With that information, they can better support their teens as they transition home from the eating disorder treatment center. To learn all they need to know, caregivers can simply use this guide to explore all the skills introduced in the workbooks.

How Treatment Centers Help Teens Learn Anorexia Recovery Skills

While receiving care at anorexia nervosa treatment centers, teens learn many recovery skills through their workbooks and a variety of therapy models, including:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

The workbooks rely heavily on the methodology used in each therapy model, helping reinforce what teens learn in individual, group, and family therapy.

With therapy sessions and workbook time, teens can start to become more self-aware and learn to address their discomfort with healthy coping skills. The skills not only help teens recover from anorexia nervosa, but also avoid relapse in the face of intense stressors. Their newfound skills can serve them well for life, making them an important part of the treatment process.

Adaptive Anorexia Recovery Skills

Parents and caregivers can take a look at all the anorexia recovery skills their teen will learn in treatment to prepare to provide exceptional support. With knowledge about these skills, it is often a bit easier to help teens transition back home after treatment and remain recovered.

Developing Self-Awareness

To truly cope with how they feel and avoid relapse, teens need to develop a strong sense of self-awareness. An anorexia workbook for teens helps them learn how to take an honest inventory of their thoughts and feelings through interesting activities.

With that information, they can start to figure out the real reasons why they are feeling the way they do. They can then understand what their mind and body need at that moment and use healthy coping skills to get through daily stressors.

This is often one of the first steps of anorexia nervosa treatment because, without self-awareness, it is difficult to take charge of becoming and remaining recovered. Teens must be active participants in the treatment process to fully recover from anorexia nervosa and avoid relapse after returning home.

Managing Treatment

Since teens need to be active participants in their recovery, the anorexia workbook also helps them learn how to best manage the treatment process. This helps prepare teens to put in the effort to become recovered from eating disorders and rely on healthy coping skills to get by.

While working through this book, teens learn what to expect from their care team and how to best participate in the different therapy options. They can then better cope with the stressors that arise as they adjust to the treatment environment and being away from home.

In response to the information provided through therapy and in the workbook, teens often step up to the challenge. Their confidence may even soar as they see the path to recovery and gain hope that they can become fully recovered.

Teaming Up

Anorexia nervosa workbooks help teens learn how to best team up with their assigned eating disorder treatment professionals. They also share the importance of teaming up with their parents and outside caregivers after graduating from the anorexia nervosa treatment centers.

When individuals openly collaborate with their care team, they gain the support they need and can better move through each stage of treatment. Their care team can help them overcome barriers to recovery, such as:

  • Ambivalence about treatment
  • Difficulty with mindfulness
  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Low self-esteem
  • Distorted body image

This knowledge assists in preventing relapse as well since it teaches teens how to collaborate with all their caregivers. Upon returning home, they can use the same knowledge and skills to work with their parents or guardians as they remain recovered.

Gaining Motivation

When first entering eating disorder treatment, many teens feel ambivalent, at best, about working toward recovery. As anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders progress, they provide a sense of mastery and purpose, becoming an identity of sorts. As the teen’s identity gets mixed up in their eating disorder, they can lose all motivation to recover.

By exploring all the negative effects of anorexia nervosa, workbooks can help untangle this complicated pairing between eating disorders and identity. The workbooks can also help teens feel motivated to thrive for a purpose beyond their wants and needs.

Through this process, they can see how to better their world and develop a positive identity separate from their eating disorder. This provides the motivation they need to actively work toward becoming recovered from anorexia nervosa.

Rebuilding Relationships

As anorexia nervosa symptoms worsen, many teens choose to isolate themselves from their family, friends, and community out of shame and guilt. They may also lash out or build barriers between themselves and others as a way to stay in control of their lives.

For a full recovery from their eating disorders, these individuals need to develop healthy relationships with their loved ones. This helps create a strong social support network they need to remain recovered through all life’s stressors.

For that reason, rebuilding relationships is a huge part of the anorexia nervosa treatment process — and workbooks aim to help. With the workbook by their sides, teens may explore:

  • Setting healthy boundaries
  • Having patience for their loved ones
  • Leaving behind codependency
  • Building strong communication skills
  • Integrating back into family life

Treatment center professionals also assist in rebuilding relationships through targeted family therapy sessions. These sessions are held either with the family individually or as a group with other families. As everyone works together in therapy, teens gain the social support needed to avoid relapse and remain recovered outside of therapy.

Releasing Unhealthy Relationships

To build a strong social support network, teens also have to learn how to release unhealthy relationships. If repairing the relationship and establishing boundaries do not work, then it may be necessary to let the relationship go to maintain recovery.

Anorexia workbooks explore this process in detail, helping teens assess the relationships in their lives and pinpoint toxic interactions. They also learn how to let the relationships go if they cannot eliminate the toxic interactions and build a healthier connection with that individual.

In addition to the workbooks, teens may attend interpersonal therapy groups to learn coping skills that help with these relationships. While in these groups, teens may use roleplaying to practice setting boundaries and letting go of unhealthy relationships to prepare for those interactions. The workbook also assists in this process and prepares teens to build a network of supportive individuals they can rely on through recovery and beyond.

Building Autonomy

Anorexia nervosa can have a negative impact on autonomy, making it difficult for teens to make excellent independent decisions that benefit their health and wellbeing. Instead, this condition causes disordered thought patterns and beliefs to arise, which serve to justify withholding food or other disordered behaviors.

As their fears and concerns overwhelm their psyche, teens may feel powerless to resist the urge to engage in disordered behaviors. This often turns into a vicious cycle that is difficult for them to break without support at anorexia nervosa treatment.

Anorexia nervosa workbooks help teens recognize this cycle and break away for good. The workbook pages may tap into their desire for autonomy and show how anorexia nervosa symptoms gain control. With that understanding, teens can confront their challenges with purpose and become recovered.

Reducing Stress

Reducing and managing stress is a major part of becoming and remaining recovered from anorexia nervosa. Workbooks go in-depth into this topic, helping teens recognize major and minor stressors and their responses to them. Their studies help them gain an understanding of how stress contributes to the development of anorexia nervosa and causes the symptoms to worsen over time.

To help decrease stress levels, anorexia workbooks for teens introduce a variety of coping skills, including:

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Breathing exercises

Through coping skills, teens can manage their stress levels and keep disordered thoughts and behaviors at bay. This process will help them gain the confidence they need to become recovered from anorexia nervosa and avoid relapse as stress levels rise.

Tolerating Negative Emotions

While dealing with anorexia nervosa symptoms, negative feelings tend to be the norm. Disordered thoughts and strong emotions can push teens past their breaking point, causing them to revert to disordered behaviors to cope. Learning how to tolerate and work through these negative emotions is key then in helping teens through eating disorder treatment.

Anorexia workbooks encourage teens to notice when their thoughts and emotions turn negative and take a stand against those sensations. They learn how to accept how they are feeling in the moment and use positivity to move into a healthier headspace. All this occurs without judgment that could derail the teen’s progress in discarding maladaptive coping skills.

Reaching Out for Help

To prevent relapse, teens need to know just when to reach out for help and receive timely support from the right people. Part of this comes from mindfulness, as teens need to be able to assess when they are feeling poorly. But they also need to know that guilt, shame, and self-doubt can creep in and make it difficult to reach out for help when that happens.

Teens should never have to feel like they have to fight against relapse on their own and anorexia workbooks help them learn that they do not have to. The workbooks also help get the support they need by effectively communicating their challenges to friends, family, and their eating disorder treatment team. With open communication, they can receive additional therapy sessions and all the social support needed to remain recovered from anorexia nervosa.

Helping Teens Heal and Become Recovered From Anorexia Nervosa

As parents and caregivers learn about all the anorexia recovery skills their teens learn in treatment, they can go above and beyond in providing support. Teens will need all their caregivers and loved ones to play an active role in their recovery. Family can attend therapy sessions, use anorexia workbooks of their own, and simply find the time for heart to heart talks with their teen.

By providing their full support as their teens work toward anorexia recovery, they can ease the transition home from treatment and help prevent relapse. That way, teens can simply focus on adjusting to daily life and using their newfound coping skills to manage stress.

If teens’ caregivers notice any signs of relapse, they can reach out to the treatment center for additional support. The treatment staff can help teens come back for follow up therapy sessions and other visits designed to help them remain recovered for life. All they have to do is call 866-511-4325 to speak with an admissions specialist and receive timely help for their tens.

Carrie Hunnicutt

With 20 years of behavioral health business development experience, Carrie combines world-class marketing, media, public relations, outreach and business development with a deep understanding of client care and treatment. Her contributions to the world of behavioral health business development – and particularly eating disorder treatment – go beyond simple marketing; she has actively developed leaders for her organizations and for the industry at large.

Oliver-Pyatt Centers is grounded in mindfulness and the belief that each person has the capacity for a mindful relationship with food and their body. Present in every aspect of our program, this philosophy encompasses nutrition and eating, as well as movement, with an emphasis on becoming free from negative habits, behaviors and rigidity. We work from a place of empathy and wisdom, using a medically grounded, psychologically gentle approach.

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Oliver-Pyatt Centers

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Miami, Florida 33143

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