Treatment for Food Maintenance Syndrome

Certain eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, usually require treatment that consists of counseling, medical intervention, and a nutritional program based on the needs of the individual. Treatment for food maintenance syndrome may share some similar therapies. However, it mostly affects children of foster care primarily due to being mistreated and inadequately fed. Nurturing techniques are often the best way to start alleviating symptoms of the syndrome.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, data suggest that the pattern of symptoms are primarily triggered by acute stress, including maltreatment in care, against a background of complex psychopathology and developmental disabilities.

Nurturing Techniques Used in Treatment for Food Maintenance Syndrome

Various nurturing techniques can help diminish the symptoms of food maintenance disorder. Caring for the physical needs of the individual by providing the basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing -and also very important- tending to their emotional needs, are vital ways to help the individual improve their abnormal food eating behavior. Some techniques that can be applied include:

counseling for children

Counseling is an important part of food maintenance disorder recovery.

  • Assuring the child that their needs will always be met, and food will always be available to them. A symptom often displayed by those that suffer from food maintenance syndrome is the storing of food. Therefore, an idea can be to prepare a special package of food items that can serve them as a reserve supply. This action can allow them to feel a sense of security.
  • Just as important to their physical needs, are their emotional needs. Depending on the severity of the disorder and their mental state of mind, for those individuals that have been deeply traumatized due to abuse and neglect, counseling should be an important part of the treatment process. In extreme cases, medications may also be necessary for individuals to fully recover from the mental effects of maltreatment.
  • Encourage mutual trust and respect. Allow them to express their feelings when they want to talk, and show that their feelings are respected. It can be hard for some children to do this, especially if they feel angry or scared most of the time. Especially if they do not expect to stay long in a home, being that often the case for foster children is that they go from home to home. Unconditional love is something they may feel they will never experience.

Since often the individuals afflicted with food maintenance syndrome are children of foster care, a safe environment that can meet their long-term developmental needs should also be a priority in helping them get better. While it can be a difficult and long process for some, the need for a stable environment can play a huge role in their progress. Caretakers should become well informed of the disorder and be willing to help them feel secure, and well taken care of.

What Role Does Counseling Play in the Treatment for Food Maintenance Syndrome?

For individuals that have been deeply traumatized by their foster care experience, it is important that proper psychological counseling is provided. A new and caring foster parent may not understand fully the scope of the emotional damage that they have suffered. New parents that are truly loving and want to help, will more than likely require the assistance of licensed therapists while the child is in their care.

With professional therapy and the nurturing of the new parent, a child can gradually recover from the disorder and go on to become a healthy adult.


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