Blog

An Anxious Child

Coping with Bulimia During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Connecticut residents are asked to stay at home to stay safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonessential workers are currently working from home or not working at all. Social gatherings that include more than five people are currently prohibited, too. These precautionary measures are expected to last through May 20, at the earliest. This prolonged period of isolation could take a toll on bulimia patients.

Our Westport treatment center for patients with bulimia recognizes that the pandemic might heighten emotional and behavioral struggles associated with the eating disorder. Nevertheless, there are things you must keep in mind to make the situation more manageable while you recover.

Reminders to Help You through This Global Crisis

Recovering from an eating disorder is a challenge in itself. Undergoing the healing process in the middle of a global health crisis is even more difficult. But don’t let that discourage you. Here are some things to keep in mind while you try to adjust to this new normal:

  1. It’s okay if you’re struggling with recovery.

Eating disorders are mental health conditions that are heavily affected by daily routine, sleeping patterns, environmental stressors, and isolation. So, patients recovering from bulimia are understandably more prone to relapse because of the pandemic and its effects.

If you’re having a difficult time staying on track, just know that you aren’t failing at recovery. These are trying times for everyone and your struggle is valid.

  1. Stay connected with your support system.

Connecticut is under a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order which will remain in effect until at least May 20. Most establishments are temporarily closed, too, except for the essentials. But despite the physical distancing, it’s important for you to stay socially connected with loved ones.

Your support system is crucial to your mental health wellness and recovery, so don’t withdraw from them during this period of self-isolation. Stay connected with your therapist, too.

Girl with eating disorder can't having problems with eating

  1. The future is uncertain but recovery still matters.

Right now, nobody knows when the pandemic will end. We don’t know when things will go back to normal and when we will truly be safe from the coronavirus. This doesn’t mean the world is falling apart, though. You can feel down right now, but don’t let that affect your recovery.

If anything, you have more time for yourself while the “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order is in place. Use this time to focus on your healing and recovery.

Finally, remember to be kind to yourself. Your eating disorder is as relevant as other people’s health concerns even in the face of the pandemic. Try your best to stick to your pre-pandemic routine, and talk to your healthcare team for ways to make the situation more manageable.

Healing and Recovery during These Trying Times

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH) provides a comprehensive range of treatment for patients recovering from bulimia and other eating disorders. We understand that the unprecented situation we find ourselves in could be affecting your recovery. Let us help you heal through it.

Set an appointment with us by calling 1-888-745-3372.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD: How Does it Work?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) says obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD affects 2.2 million adults, which is about 1 percent of the U.S. population. OCD is an anxiety disorder wherein people have obsessions or unwanted, intrusive ideas and urges that trigger distress. The person compulsively resorts to doing repetitive tasks or behaviors to try and ease the distress.

For people with OCD, their thoughts become extremely persistent and intrusive, preventing them from focusing on other matters. These obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming, interfering with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.

Many people with OCD recognize that their thoughts and urges are unreasonable and excessive. But these obsessions can’t be resolved through reasoning or logic. This is why one of the widely used treatments for OCD focuses on changing one’s behavior and mindset, which is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.

CBT uses two science-based techniques: exposure and response prevention (ERP) and cognitive therapy.

Cognitive Therapy

Before the therapist decides what approach to take in treating the OCD, it’s important to understand the underlying meanings and beliefs of the person’s obsessions and compulsions. Cognitive therapy focuses on the meanings and associations a person attaches to different experiences and actions, revealing their deepest fears and anxieties.

During the first few sessions, the therapist will spend time making sense of how a person’s OCD works. This helps both parties understand the factors that contribute to the anxiety disorder, which presents alternative ways of looking at the cause of the obsession.

Exposure Therapy

Next, the therapist will help the person weaken two types of connection: 1) the association between the obsession and feelings of distress, and 2) the association between the repetitive behaviors and relief.

The first connection is weakened through exposure. The therapist will gradually expose you to real-world situations that trigger your obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The important part here is that you do it at your own pace so that you fully grasp the need to dissociate from your obsessions.

Response Prevention

The exposure therapy should be done simultaneously with response prevention. For example, you have an uncontrollable fear of germs in public places. The therapist may ask you to touch the doorknob of a public restroom. If your usual compulsion is to immediately wash your hands after, the therapist will ask you to wait before doing so.

The delay in your response weakens the second connection, which is the association between the compulsion and feelings of relief. In other words, it makes the person with OCD realize that they don’t need to engage in their repetitive actions just to lessen their distress.

Over time, the gradual exposure and delayed response will help you logically process your fears and anxieties, letting you gain better control of your thoughts and behaviors.

Cognitive behavioral therapy should be done by an experienced mental health professional, especially if your OCD is severe. This ensures that the exposure and response prevention therapy is done properly and at your pace.

Manage OCD at the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH) in Westport helps those with obsessive-compulsive disorder deal with their anxiety in a healthy manner. Our team works with you to develop a healthy mindset. By evaluating your specific needs and conditions, we’ll create a cognitive therapy that helps you dissociate from intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Begin healing with us today. Fill out our contact form or call 1-888-745-3372 to schedule an appointment.


Woman in bath tub

Eating Disorder Treatment: Why Integrate Nutrition Education and Therapy?

The number of people suffering from eating disorders continue to grow in the US. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), over 30 million Americans of all genders and ages struggle with an eating disorder.

Women are more susceptible to eating disorders than the opposite sex. Studies prove that females are more likely to experience extreme body dissatisfaction. This is caused largely by societal pressures on women, holding them to higher standards of beauty. These standards are often too high, causing girls to have warped perceptions of themselves.

Body Dissatisfaction

Body dissatisfaction starts at an age earlier than most people would expect. Almost 46 percent of American adolescents have negative perception of their bodies. This mindset can persist until they’re 30. Eating disorders aren’t the only consequence of a negative body image. The risk for poor mental health, obesity, and other serious problems also increase.

This is why it’s important to establish a positive relationship with food early on. Healthy habits make the patient feel more at peace with how, what, and how much they eat, helping them spot toxic practices or thoughts immediately.

A healthy relationship with food is also integral to different kinds of eating disorder treatments. It helps break the mindset of associating self-worth with eating habits and weight.

The Importance of Nutrition Education

Many eating disorder therapies involve dietitians, nutritionists, and other similar professionals. They help the patient better understand their condition as well as unpack and analyze their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors regarding food and weight.

Together, the medical professionals and the patient will develop a concrete plan to establishing habits that allow the latter to eat normally again. This means being free from guilt, fear, anxiety, obsessive thinking, and compensatory behaviors (excessive exercise or purging) before, during, and after eating.

Nutritional therapy also covers proper diet and exercise. The patient will learn to choose the food they consume based on its nutritional value, balance diet with exercise, and maintain a healthy weight without risking overall well-being.

Nutrition education also involves some degree of psychotherapy. It helps the patient relearn the internal cues for hunger and fullness. These biological responses may have been suppressed for patients of eating disorders, especially those who force themselves to starve, purge, or overeat past the point of comfort. Relearning these natural cues is important to establishing regular eating habits.

The goals of nutrition education are summarized in the following:

  • Work toward a healthy weight in a healthy way
  • Recognize how the eating disorder and the unhealthy habits that come with it cause nutrition issues and physical conditions
  • Practice meal planning
  • Establish a regular eating pattern – three meals a day with snacks
  • Eliminate extreme dieting, purging, starving, and bingeing behaviors
  • Correct or mitigate health problems due to obesity or malnutrition

The first step to getting better is asking for help. Whether it’s you or your loved one, work with a professional who can help unpack, analyze, and address the eating disorder.

Overcome Eating Disorders at the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH) in Westport provides a range of treatments for those with eating disorders. Our team works with you to gain the capacity and confidence to manage the symptoms of your conditions. By evaluating your specific conditions and needs, we’ll create a nutrition education plan that replaces your unhealthy eating habits with positive ones.

Begin healing with us today. Set an appointment with us by filling out our contact form or calling 1-888-745-3372.

sad child

How Can You Help Prevent Childhood Substance Abuse?

Given the right conditions, substance abuse can afflict anyone. Although you might usually associate such a burden with teens and adults, substance abuse is a shadow that affects everyone, including children.

You need to learn about the unpleasant truth of childhood substance abuse to prevent or manage it. You also need to know methods outside of professional treatments, such as cognitive behavior therapy, that you can use to help your children.

Unpleasant Numbers

According to studies on the substance-abusing population of the United States, children as young as 12 have participated in illegal drug use. Numbers indicate that 741,000, or 3 percent, of the total adolescent population in the country, an age group that includes children who aren’t even teenagers yet, have problems involving illicit drug use. Approximately 443,000 of the same age-group deal with alcohol use disorder.

Children and people who suffer from substance abuse issues are often prone to developing mental disorders as well. Substance abuse has also been linked to an increase in criminality, as users fall on the wrong side of the law because of their addictions.

To help decrease these unpleasant numbers, you need to understand why they happen and how you can help those undergoing them.

The Causes of Childhood Substance Abuse

Children and adolescents generally develop substance abuse for four reasons: to garner social acceptance, as a part of socializing, to cope with emotional or psychological burdens, and to deal with difficult life transitions.

Understanding these circumstances is vital in helping children.

To garner social acceptance

Also known as peer pressure, children who want to be accepted may feel like they need to indulge in the same activities of social groups. They may feel like they have to use drugs and drink alcohol if they want to be included.

How You Can Help:Take time to talk to your child about why they want to be accepted by a specific social group. Let them know that they shouldn’t participate in things that they’re not comfortable in doing, even if their friends are. You can also encourage them to hang out in places where they can have a private space but you can still monitor them, such as your house.

As part of socializing

Adolescents sometimes use illicit substances and alcohol to overcome their social anxieties and to feel confident. They may also want to go to parties where these activities are encouraged to mingle with their friends or to gain acceptance. Or they may indulge in them out of boredom or curiosity.

How You Can Help: Have a conversation with them about your stance on these activities. Find ways to steer your child’s friends to party in public spaces where drugs and alcohol will be difficult to bring or consume. Also, let them know that if they ever need to leave and get picked up from a party or gathering that they can call you to do so with no questions asked. Supervise any parties in your home and coordinate with other parents, so they can do the same.

Coping with Emotional and Psychological Pain

Mental health issues and difficult emotional processes can drive adolescents and children to try alcohol or drugs to nullify the negative feelings. Loneliness, depression, social anxiety, or self-esteem problems can all contribute to the development of substance abuse.

How You Can Help: Remind children that you are there to help them cope with these problems and you can guide them to safe coping alternatives. You should also practice healthy coping techniques yourself and become a role model. Finally, talk to them about seeking professional help and follow through on the offer.

Difficult Life Transitions

Events such as moving homes or schools, divorce, going through puberty, and death or illness of a loved can take their toll on an adolescent. During such periods of emotional upheaval, they may turn to alcohol or drugs for comfort.

How You Can Help: Maintain and improve your connection with them the transition. Open up about your own emotions and encourage them to do the same. Schedule regular fun activities between the two of you where you can bond and enjoy.

Genuine assistance stems from understanding what makes a problem happen in the first place. By communicating with your child and securing the services of professionals, you may prevent them from developing a substance abuse problem.

A Better Way to Get Better

The Center for Cognitive Behavioral Health in Westport uses novel concepts and nurturing environments to help our patients move past their issues and eventually conquer. Our treatments are developed for substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety issues, depression, and other problems.

Get in touch with us today and tell us how we can be of assistance.

Woman concern about weight

Binge Eating Disorders: 5 Ways to Curb Compulsive Eating

Do you remember the last time you ate too much? How did you feel after that? Did you find yourself dealing with guilt or shame?

Though it is quite normal to overeat, every once in a while, compulsive overeating may be a sign of binge eating disorder (BED).

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

The National Eating Disorders Association identifies binge eating disorder (BED) as the most common eating disorder in the US. The following signs characterize this condition:

  • Inability to stop eating
  • Eating even while full
  • Eating normally around others but binging when you’re alone
  • Feeling that eating is the only way to reduce stress
  • Feeling depressed or guilty after overeating

BED is caused by several factors, such as:

  • Social and cultural pressure: Exposure to the pressure to be thin or frequent comments about your body and weight
  • Psychological factors: Depression, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction
  • Biological abnormalities: Low levels of serotonin, incorrect messages sent by the hypothalamus about hunger and fullness

How to Stop Binge Eating

Binge eating leads to a range of emotional, physical, and social problems. You’re likely to experience health issues like diabetes and heart problems. You may also experience anxiety and depression.

However, many people have recovered from BED. You can, too. If you’re experiencing symptoms of BED, here are strategies you can try:

#1: Develop a healthy relationship with food

Learn to differentiate physical and emotional hunger. If you just ate and your stomach’s not rumbling, you’re probably not hungry. Let that craving pass.

Don’t skip meals because you’re most likely to overeat. Stick to scheduled mealtimes. Be a mindful eater and savor what you’re eating so you consume less food.

#2: Find a way to manage unpleasant emotions

Identify your binge-eating patterns using a food and mood diary. Every time you overeat or are tempted to eat, figure out what caused the urge.

#3: Control the cravings

Instead of turning to food for relief, distract yourself by doing something else: take a walk, hang out with a friend, or read a book. Once you’re interested in something else, the craving will go away.

#4: Take up healthy lifestyle habits

Find other ways to handle stress without food, from regular exercise to meditation. Get enough sleep every night to control your appetite and support your mood.

#5: Seek help from a professional

Sometimes it’s challenging to stop overeating on your own, especially if there are deep-rooted problems involved. Work with a professional to help you discover psychological triggers that might be causing you to binge eat.

Overcome Binge Eating at the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health

Binge eating disorder is a psychological condition that affects your relationship with food and your body. It’s possible to overcome it by seeking help and making healthy lifestyle changes.

Begin your healing from binge eating by contacting the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH). We provide a range of treatments for those with eating disorders in Westport.

Our team works with you to gain the capacity and confidence to manage the symptoms of your conditions. By evaluating your specific conditions and needs, we create a comprehensive treatment that will help you deal with life situations positively and productively.

Set an appointment with us by filling out our contact form or calling 1-888-745-3372.

mourning for someone's death

Life After Loss: Dealing with Grief

Oftentimes, people associate grief with the death or loss of a loved one. This is inaccurate, though, as people can feel grief when losing things, such as a job, a relationship, a home or even losing a body part like a leg or arm. Dropping out of school or even being diagnosed with a terminal illness likewise create certain forms of grief. Grief is more about the feeling of loss, and not about what or who was lost.

In this article, we discuss grief and its stages, and when it’s necessary to seek professional help. There are experts available to provide you with CBT in Westport, Connecticut.

What is Grief?

Grief is an intense emotional and physical response that an individual experiences after loss. While grief can be from losing intangible things like a relationship, status, a person’s future (as when diagnosed with a terminal illness), the most common and often paralyzing sort of grief is the type that arises from the loss of a loved one.

This kind of grief is marked by extreme sadness, but is accompanied by a strong desire to be reunited with the deceased. In extreme cases, intense and complicated feelings of grief can give rise to suicidal tendencies of the bereaved. Another route that grief can go is for it to manifest as physical symptoms.

Those experiencing extreme grief may exhibit symptoms like:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of Breath or asphyxiation
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness

The Three Elements of Grief

There are three major psychological components of grief, and these are:

Loss

While those who grieve focus on the loss of the person, there are other intangibles that were lost with their death. The deceased could have been the source of affection for the bereaved, emotional security, or represented hope for a good future for the person mourning. Helping the bereaved realize what was lost along with the deceased is a vital step, since each loss must be dealt with to cope with grief.

Change

This is an unavoidable consequence of losing a loved one, and the complexity of the change that the bereaved has to deal with is dependent on what sort of role the deceased played in the life of those in mourning. Adapting to the abrupt change of having to explore new things, or carrying on with certain things without the deceased can be a huge challenge for the bereaved. Those grieving need time to deal with the change that comes with the loss of a loved one.

Control

Since the death of their loved one was beyond their control, this can feel overwhelming for the bereaved. This feeling of having no control over the loss can lock the bereaved in feelings of vulnerability and isolation.

 The Grief Pattern

Those who grieve describe their feelings of loss as moving in a wave-like pattern; most report the intensity and frequency of these wave-like feelings of grief lessen with the passing of time, although intense and overwhelming feelings of grief can impact them at any time, even years after the loss. The grief can be triggered by anything, an object or event that is connected with any memory that involves the deceased. These triggers of grief can come unexpectedly, but some may also be anticipated if they are connected to an important date. Note that these triggered waves of grief are normal, and don’t have to be taken as a sign of mounting grief or depression. The intensity of these waves usually lessens, with time.

CBT for the Grieving

The role of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to assist the bereaved in accepting the loss of their loved one, allowing them to grieve, and at the same time guiding and supporting them as they strive to create a new life. Most bereaved persons must be allowed to tell their story, express their thoughts and feelings, try to make sense of the loss, and then given the support they need to move their lives forward without their loved one.

At the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, our therapists and physicians can help ease your physical and psychological symptoms of extreme grief. We can also provide personalized care to help you deal with the loss of a loved one. Contact us if you, a friend or your family needs our counseling.

anger

Boiling Over: How to Identify and Treat Anger Issues

Anger management problems are widespread in the United States, as over one in 10 adults have them. Anger is something that everyone experiences, whether you’re ticked off because you missed the bus or you’re fuming with rage because your credit card got hacked. According to the American Psychological Society, it’s a natural response against threats. It raises your heart rate, energy hormones, blood pressure, and adrenaline to allow you to fend for yourself.

Red Hot Causes

Internal and external problems can slowly lead you to your tipping point. This may be caused by everyday annoyances like having your car break down in the middle of Westport, Connecticut or interacting with a coworker you dislike.

The APA says that it could also be triggered by remembering traumatic events that happened in your life. A recent survey published in the Central Nervous System (CNS) Spectrums journal found that anger may be associated with different mental issues such as drug dependence, psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders. Some people are also just born irritable and easily angered, a characteristic that can be observed at a young age.

While it’s a normal emotion, anger can spiral out of control and cause problems in your personal life and career. As such, this powerful emotion should be managed with utmost care and responsibility. Here’s how to spot anger issues and handle them properly.

Identify and Acknowledge

You may have underlying anger issues without even realizing it. They may manifest discreetly like passive-aggression. It is a dangerous way of managing your anger, as it prevents you from dealing with what makes you angry and causes you to ruin your relationships with others unknowingly.

You may also be filled with so much rage that you hurt yourself or others physically and verbally. And when these heightened bursts of anger, whether direct or indirect, last a long time, you may have severe issues that need professional intervention.

Take Control of Your Anger

Anger issues stem from losing control over your emotions, causing you to act violently. Gain authority over your anger with the following methods.

  • Express Yourself Properly — You shouldn’t keep your anger bottled up, but it’s not good to let your rage rip, either. If you’re mad at a person, try to write down what angers you about them. Approach them and discuss these issues with them as calmly as you can. The same goes for other problems. Just find a person you trust to discuss them with.
  • Get Some Time Off — Your anger may be rooted in the frustrating cycle of being stuck in a traffic jam, getting to your nine-to-five job, and going home tired and flustered. Give yourself short breaks at work to meditate, read a book, or listen to your favorite podcast. Use your vacation credits to go on a week-long trip or to focus on hobbies that bring you joy.
  • Get Professional Help — If the first two suggestions didn’t work for you, it might be time to get help from mental health professionals. Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may improve the way you solve your daily problems so that you don’t feel frustrated every time you face them. Along with therapy, your psychiatrist may recommend antidepressants like Prozac to help you calm down during stressful events.

Everyone feels angry from time to time, but not enough to sabotage their relationships and career. If you feel like your anger is out of control or uncharacteristic of you, calm yourself down with these recommendations. When worse comes to worst, don’t be afraid to consult your psychiatrist. Anger is an emotion that you should never let boil over.

Get Professional Help for Your Anger Issues

You must not wait until your relationships and career are ruined by anger before consulting a professional. Here at the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, we’ll help you solve your anger issues through tried and tested methods like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. We have a team of experienced psychiatrists and clinicians who are ready to provide personalized care for you. With a safe and comfortable facility, you’ll feel right at home during your recovery.

Contact us today to start your journey to recovery.

Girl with eating disorder can't having problems with eating

Know the Signs: How Can You Tell if a Loved One Has Bulimia?

Bulimia is an eating disorder that affects millions of people in the United States. Like many maladies, without diagnosis and proper treatment, bulimia may be fatal to those afflicted. The disease manifests in different ways, with multiple warning signs and symptoms.

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health helps you understand the condition and shares the signs that indicate a close friend or family member is suffering from the disorder. Identifying the symptoms is a vital step in getting them a treatment plan for bulimia that could save their life.

Who can be Afflicted by Bulimia?

Statistics indicate that bulimia nervosa afflicts approximately 0.5 percent of men and 1.5 percent of women in the United States. This is roughly 1.5 million men and 4.7 million women living with the disorder. Although bulimia mostly manifests during adolescence and young adulthood, it may also occur among children or older adults.

Cases of bulimia among women are more widespread, but 10 to 15 percent of bulimics are male. The risk is greater among men who are in sports where lean body types are more prevalent, and among gay or bisexual men. People of African American or Latin descent are also more likely to develop the disorder.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia?

Bulimia primarily presents as episodes of binge eating, when someone eats a lot of food in one sitting, followed by purging. Purging usually takes the form of self-induced vomiting, but bulimics also achieve it through the overuse of laxatives and enemas, or excessive use of weight-loss supplements. Bulimics obsess about removing excess calories and weight. To this end, they may abuse fasting methods, follow extreme dieting practices, or overindulge in exercises.

If you suspect that a loved one has developed bulimia, you must pay attention to psychological and physiological signs.

The psychological symptoms of bulimia nervosa include the following:

  • They’re preoccupied with thoughts of weight-loss, body image, fat, or calories
  • They don’t like eating when other people are around
  • They’re too concerned about their body size or shape
  • They’ve developed irregular eating habits
  • They’re afraid of any weight gain
  • They frequently excuse themselves after a meal to go to the bathroom and spend an inordinate amount of time there
  • After their trips to the bathroom, they consume large amounts of breath mints or use lots of mouthwash to cover up the smell of their purging

The physiological effects of bulimia manifest as any or all the following:

  • Their weight fluctuates up and down
  • They have dental health issues, such as enamel erosion, discoloration, tooth sensitivity, and cavities, from their vomiting
  • Their hands are scarred or calloused, form inducing vomiting
  • Their hands and feet start to swell
  • Fine, downy hair strands start growing on their bodies, which is lanugo, a sign of malnutrition.

If someone you care about is manifesting multiple symptoms, they may be suffering from bulimia nervosa. Bulimia is difficult to handle without professional help since it stems from a problem of self-image rather than perceived physiological flaws. Without the assistance of trained individuals, bulimia may eat a person away. Don’t wait until it’s too late to contact a reliable treatment facility.

Better Health in Connecticut

At the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, experts use cognitive behavioral therapy to get to the root of eating disorders and other mental issues. Contact us for more details about our treatments.

Skinny woman sitting on her bed

Losing to Win: Why Young Athletes are at High Risk of Developing Eating Disorders

Sports, especially team sports, offer several advantages for kids and adolescents. The frequent physical activity encourages a lifestyle that is centered on movement. Sports have also been found to increase cognitive ability because it encourages the production and release of endorphins. This gives young athletes the willingness to tackle problems head-on.

It’s not all good things, however; there is a dark side to sports.

Young athletes are under immense pressure to live a disciplined life to be able to and excel in their event. This constant push to be the best can negatively affect their growth and development. Young athletes, both children and adolescents, are susceptible to developing an eating disorder as a way to cope with the pressure. This is especially common for sports that follow set weight classes, such as endurance and aesthetic sports.

As their parent, you are in the best position to recognize the issue before it gets out of hand. It’s up to you to establish a support system for your child that fosters an environment where they are discouraged from developing unhealthy lifestyle choices for their passion.

Determining Possible Risk Factors for Your Child

Prevention is difficult when you don’t know what causes the illness. There are several risk factors that can cause your child to develop an eating disorder. Understanding these determinants will help you identify them in your child.

  • Preoccupation with body weight, size, and shape is common in the sports world. Excessive focus on these aspects should raise red flags, especially when it results in behavioral changes in your child, such as an obsession with their calorie intake.
  • Another warning sign is overexertion. Whether it manifests as additional hours in the gym or training beyond their coach’s recommendation, the need to work out more than usual might be caused by their need to lose weight or gain muscle.
  • For young girls, disordered eating often results in abnormal menstruation cycles. If your child has been missing their period or it is in the extremes (heavy or scant), it might be caused by poor eating habits.

What You Can Do

Although it might be difficult to admit that your child is suffering from an illness, acknowledging the problem paves the way to properly addressing it. As their parent, they look to you for guidance and support. Making sure they feel safe and loved will help them open up when you broach the subject.

  • Check in with their coaches.

As someone who interacts with them on a regular basis, your child’s coach has important insight on their behaviour outside of your home. Ask them if they have noticed any change in behaviours that might be indicative of an eating disorder.

  • Discourage negative attitude towards weight changes.

Promoting body positivity at home discourages an unhealthy obsession with weight. Since your child’s body is still growing, they will experience changes to their weight. Normalizing this will decrease the internal pressure to stay a certain weight and size. Moreover, work with their coach to find ways to accommodate weight changes so your child won’t feel inadequate in their sport.

  • Create a support system with the right people.

There is nothing wrong with seeking help from a professional. In Newport, treatments for eating disorders range from prevention to rehabilitation. Sometimes, outsider intervention is necessary to properly address the problem.

Getting Professional Help

Preventing eating disorders in young athletes requires the creation of a safe and supportive environment that addresses the issue at its core. We at the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health provide treatment programs for eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating) in children and adolescents. Our holistic approach provides your child with the necessary coping mechanisms to help them with their urges even after treatment.

Get in touch with us today to learn more.

Man looking down

Bulimia in Men: Risk Factors and Treatment

Many people assume that eating disorders such as bulimia only affect women, but according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), in the USA alone, 10 million men will be affected by eating disorders at some point in their lives. Of those, approximately 1.5 million will have bulimia.

Bulimia is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder that is characterized by binging on large amounts of food in a short period of time and then purging to avoid weight gain. Purging can come in the form of self-induced vomiting, laxative and diuretic misuse, and excessive exercise.

Risk Factors

Body image pressure is one of the biggest risk factors of an eating disorder in men. The factors behind men’s dissatisfaction with their body are complex. Male weight and body image concerns are different from those of women – where women strive for thinness, men generally want to gain muscle mass. One important contributor to men’s body image issues is society’s portrayal of the ideal male body as being muscular and toned. This ideal is further perpetuated by the media and the fitness industry. Any attempts to attain this unrealistic “ideal” body often increases one’s susceptibility to eating disorders.

However, bulimia isn’t always about body image. Sometimes, men may develop bulimia as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, or other uncomfortable feelings and thoughts. Both men and women report that bulimia provides temporary relief from their stressors. This is because bulimia is a maladaptive coping mechanism, as well as a mental illness. If left unchecked, it can lead to a variety of physical and mental health consequences, such as negatively impacting the growth and development of adolescent boys, and compromising the bones, heart, and endocrine system of adult men.

Treatment Considerations

Unfortunately, eating disorders in men are under-diagnosed and under-treated. Men get treatment for eating disorders less frequently than women do, likely because of shame, stigmas against mental health treatment, the myth that only women have eating disorders, or other stereotypes that make it hard for men to seek help.

For men, bulimia treatment in Westport and elsewhere requires a gender-sensitive approach. Some men may feel uncomfortable when they participate in a predominantly female treatment program. Because of this, all-male therapeutic groups are often ideal for men dealing with an eating disorder. These all-male groups encourage men to disclose their issues with their body image or with food with other men, thereby creating a space where they can help each other feel safer when revealing problems with self-image. Having men talk about their struggle with bulimia may also dispel the belief that it is a “women’s disease.”

One thing to remember about bulimia is that, despite popular notions, it does not discriminate according to gender, sexual orientation, sex, age, size, race, income, educational level, or ethnicity. Anyone can develop an eating disorder.

Whether male or female, The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health will help you get appropriate treatment for your eating disorder. We treat a range of conditions, from eating disorders and anxiety to substance abuse and depressive disorders. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.