Childhood Stress is Rising, Eating Recovery Center Offers Insight to Help Prevent Eating Disorders by straightlinepr


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Molly Koch
Communications Strategy Group

 Childhood Stress is Rising, Eating Recovery Center Offers
        Insight to Help Prevent Eating Disorders
  Center cites the connection between rising anxiety and stress-initiated mental
    illnesses as likely factor driving increased child and adolescent treatment

Denver, Colo, January 29, 2013 – Stress among children and adolescents is on the
rise, and mental health professionals are seeing the impact as more families seek
treatment for their children and adolescents to address stress-initiated
behavioral illnesses such as eating disorders. At Eating Recovery Center, an
international center providing comprehensive treatment for eating disorders, more
than 20 percent of the Center’s total inquiries for treatment in 2012 were for children
or adolescents ages 17 and under, of which 35 percent related to boys and girls ages
10 to 14.

Children today are growing up in what experts say is a more stressful environment
than ever before.

“As an outcome of globalization and the information age, children and adolescents
are more aware of their surroundings than they ever have been,” said Ovidio
Bermudez, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, FAED, CEDS, chief medical officer and medical director
of child and adolescent services at Eating Recovery Center. “This access and
exposure can pose serious challenges as children and teens are inundated with fear-
inducing global news and anxiety-causing social media interactions.”

Studies confirm this increase in stress among children and adolescents. Forty-five
percent of teens (ages 13-17) say they were more worried in 2009 than they had
been the previous year, according to a 2009 report from the American Psychological
Association (APA). The study also found that 27 percent of tweens (ages 8-12) and
39 percent of teens reported eating too much or too little due to stress. However,
only 28 percent of parents thought their teen’s stress had increased and a mere 8
percent reported being aware of their child’s eating issues.

Due to the connection between anxiety and stress-initiated mental illnesses like
eating disorders, Eating Recovery Center encourages parents to take proactive steps
to understand the impact of stress on their children, identify events and situations
that may induce stress and recognize patterns of thinking and behavior that may
indicate anxiety:

   1. Childhood stress generally fits into one of four categories: personal,
       interpersonal, interfamilial and global (a stress reaction to national or world

   2. Children of all ages are vulnerable to the effects of stress. Although
      they may internalize stress differently, children at different ages – from
      toddlers to teenagers – can all suffer from anxiety.

   3. There is no universal response to stress. Children at different
      developmental stages and under different life circumstances will respond to
      stress differently.

   4. The burden of stress is cumulative. Just like adults, children and
      adolescents can only “take so much,” and multiple stressors can become
      increasingly difficult for a young person to manage.

   5. Even positive change can be stressful. For children and adolescents,
      change can be difficult, even perceived positive changes such as starting at a
      new school or joining a new sports team.

To help parents minimize stress in their children, Eating Recovery Center
recommends following these four guidelines:

   1. Be aware of your own stress as a parent and recognize how your words
      and actions can directly or indirectly affect your child.

   2. Make yourself available to discuss their perceptions of stressful situations.

   3. Talk to your children if you feel that something is causing them anxiety; do
      not wait for them to vocalize their feelings to you.

   4. Provide age-appropriate information regarding their questions or

“While everyone feels stress at some time or another, individuals with a genetic or
temperamental predisposition toward behavioral disorders will often adopt unhealthy
coping mechanisms as a tool to manage their anxiety,” said Dr. Bermudez. “Because
disordered eating behaviors such as restricting calories and purging actually release
chemicals that minimize anxiety, many children and adolescents use these behaviors
to experience relief due to their inability to identify feelings, articulate causes of
stress and manage their anxiety appropriately.”

Eating Recovery Center encourages parents whose children have begun exhibiting
troubling eating behaviors or body image issues as a potential outcome of stress to
seek help from a qualified professional. Early intervention maximizes the likelihood of
lasting recovery. For more information about eating disorders treatment
resources, visit

About Eating Recovery Center
Eating Recovery Center is an international center providing comprehensive
treatment for anorexia, bulimia, EDNOS and binge eating disorder. Under the
personal guidance and care of Drs. Kenneth Weiner, Craig Johnson, Emmett Bishop
and Ovidio Bermudez, programs provide a full spectrum of services for children,
adolescents and adults that includes Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization,
Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services. Our compassionate team of
professionals collaborates with treating professionals and loved ones to cultivate
lasting behavioral change. Denver-based facilities include the Behavioral Hospital
for Adults, the Behavioral Hospital for Children and Adolescents, the Partial
Hospitalization Program and Outpatient Services for Adults, and the Partial
Hospitalization Program for Children and Adolescents. In an effort to increase
patient access to care throughout the United States, Eating Recovery Center partners
with Summit Eating Disorders and Outreach Program in Sacramento, Cali., and The
Moore Center for Eating Disorders in Bellevue, Wash. Summit offers Partial
Hospitalization and Outpatient Services as well as Intensive Outpatient and
Outpatient Services in Fresno and Roseville. The Moore Center offers Partial
Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Services. For more information,
please contact us at 877-218-1344 or or
confidentially chat live on our website at


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