Month: <span>February 2020</span>

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.