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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.

Women feet standing on weighing scale

Working it Out: How to Help a Loved One Deal With Exercise Bulimia

The American Addiction Centers says that about 4.7 million females and 1.5 million males in the U.S. have bulimia. It’s a potentially fatal mental health disorder that involves binge eating a large amount of food and then vomiting it after. The center says patients often feel significant remorse after their binge and their purge manifests in different ways, apart from self-induced vomiting. It can take the form of prolonged starvation or the use of laxatives regularly.

However, a newer form called “exercise bulimia” has been identified by experts. According to a Healthline article on the disorder, exercise bulimia involves overexercising to burn calories from a binge session. If you think your loved one has exercise bulimia, here’s what you can do to help them.

Know the Symptoms

Part of helping your loved one deal with exercise bulimia is by understanding its symptoms. The Healthline piece, medically reviewed by the University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine, says you should look out for warning signs like worrying too much about working out.

While exercise may be a healthy activity, symptoms like being obsessed with calories burned during a workout, worrying about their body’s appearance too much, and getting angered when they miss a scheduled exercise session. Apart from the direct symptoms, the article also says that overexercising may cause an absence of menstruation among women. Cardiac issues like arrhythmia are also possible because of the stress it causes on the heart.

An Esquire article chronicling the author’s struggle with exercise bulimia cited the link between this disorder and body dysmorphia. He stated that male weightlifters often obsess over feeling too skinny. They push themselves to work out to feel that they’re developing their body into an adequate image. In other words, masculine. Jennifer Rollin, the psychotherapist the author interviewed, said that this way of thinking is dangerous, especially for those who have underlying inclinations to overexercising or eating disorders.

Peaceful Acknowledgment and Suggestions

Apart from getting mad about missed exercise sessions, people who have exercise bulimia feel angry when people call them out because they overexercise. As hard as it is to understand, you shouldn’t antagonize your loved one for their disorder. You’ll only push them away. Understand that they mostly have little to no control over their behavior.

Rollins says that one of the few ways people can deal with their exercise bulimia is by setting workout goals. If you sense that they’re overworking themselves, ask them to listen to their body and slow down to avoid hurting themselves. Once they realize that they might get seriously injured, suggest a more manageable routine. This may help them realize their problem and de-escalate their exercise habits.

When to Get Professional Help

If they still aren’t listening to what you say or relapse immediately after taking your suggestions, it may be time to recommend going to a therapist. This way, they get to learn from a professional how to cope with their condition.

A therapist, psychiatrist, and dietitian can help them become better at managing their relationship with food and exercise, according to another psychotherapist, Kate Rosenblatt, in an interview with Men’s Health. A mental health expert can address underlying issues linked to the disorder, such as anxiety and mood disorders, by creating a bulimia treatment plan.

As the saying goes, too much of anything is bad for you — even if it’s a beneficial activity like exercise. This disorder may lead to serious physical injuries due to overworking, an unhealthy reproductive system, and heart problems. Help your loved one by understanding their situation, de-escalating it, and calling a professional when worse comes to worst. The road to recovery isn’t easy, but it’s better when you have someone to run (or walk) with you.

Find the Right Treatment Center

Skinny woman sitting on her bed

The Healthline article about exercise bulimia says that cognitive behavior therapy is also effective in addressing the symptoms of this disorder. Here at The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, in Westport, CT, we offer treatment programs for eating disorders like binge eating and bulimia, which include cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy. Our experts help patients identify and understand the underlying problems behind their condition and equip them with healthy coping skills.

Contact us today to find the best treatment plan for your loved one.

emotional connections

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: The Four Modules

Originally designed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. in the 1980s, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed to help those struggling with borderline personality disorder. DBT merges eastern approaches and western therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which emphasizes a person’s ability to change their behaviors and thoughts. DBT is based on the assumption that self-destructive behaviors are caused by an inability to manage intense emotion.

Though originally created to treat borderline personality disorder, DBT has also been found effective for an array of mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and bulimia nervosa. As such, it can be – and has been – used as eating disorder treatment in Westport and elsewhere.

The Four Modules of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

In order to teach its patients how to manage their symptoms and engage in more effective coping behaviors, DBT offers the following four skill modules:

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is mastering how to be in control of your mind, instead of the other way around. This does not mean controlling your thoughts; rather, it is practicing the ability to focus your attention on the present moment without judgment.

Often, people with eating disorders find it difficult to stay in the moment and may have intrusive thoughts that direct their behavior. Mindfulness can disperse these thoughts and redirect the patient’s attention to the present moment so that they can take note of and accept whatever they are feeling at that time.

Emotion Regulation

dealing with emotions

Emotion regulation teaches how to describe and observe emotions without self-hatred, fear, or judgment. More often than not, people with eating disorders have difficulty not only with communicating their emotions, but also with identifying and experiencing them. Instead of suppressing or rejecting emotions, emotion regulation emphasizes the adaptive nature of feelings and teaches how to generate more positive ones.

Distress Tolerance

This skill is about learning how to get through a crisis without spiraling into despair and actions that may make matters worse. Often, people who lack distress tolerance skills will turn to their eating disorder as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions and difficult situations. Since the symptoms of the disorder are usually perceived as providing immediate relief in the face of distress, mastering the ability to tolerate and accept emotional pain is essential to recovery.

Distress tolerance aims to lessen harmful, impulsive behaviors, such as bingeing, purging, and self-harm, by giving alternative ways to cope with negative thoughts and emotions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Those with eating disorders often report difficulties with putting their desires before those of others and saying “no.” They also deal with self-esteem issues. All these factors can interfere with the development of healthy relationships and cause one to feel invalidated. When people feel invalidated, they are more likely to feel negative emotions and the urge for self-destructive behavior. After all, the ability to maintain fulfilling relationships and the ability to negotiate your needs with others are central to wellbeing. Interpersonal effectiveness provides concrete strategies on how to effectively communicate with other people and how to improve assertiveness and self-esteem.

DBT, with its four modules, is just one way to treat eating disorders. At The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, we offer an array of treatments, including DBT and CBT, for a variety of conditions, such as anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and substance abuse. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Therapy Session

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works: Types and Processes Involved

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of treatment where therapists encourage their clients to identify and address the feelings and thoughts that influence their decisions to engage in certain types of maladaptive behavior. Ideally, this allows individuals to move away from destructive thought patterns that have a negative influence on their health, behavior, and emotions.

Therapists work with those suffering from all types of disorders. This includes anxiety, depression, specific phobias, and addictions. The treatment strategy is highly focused on an individual person and can be modified to fit with particular goals.

Additionally, this type of therapy involves the therapist taking on an instructional role. Their client is meant to listen to suggested strategies and use those to look into their own thoughts and feelings. They need to be able to discover how their internal states may be impacting their behavior.

What are some types of CBT?

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is focused on changing the irrational beliefs that an individual may hold. It involves making specific identifications of the underlying beliefs and challenging them constantly. In time, therapy allows the individual to recognize and alter these thought patterns on their own.

Cognitive therapy focuses on altering inaccurate and distorted patterns of thinking, emotional responses, and behaviors. There’s also multimodal therapy. This addresses seven modalities: imagery, affect, sensation, behavior, interpersonal factors, cognition, and biological considerations. This type of therapy argues that psychological concerns can be addressed by looking into these interconnected factors.

Dialectical behavioral therapy centers on the use of strategies like emotional regulation and mindfulness to confront various thought patterns and behaviors.

What are the stages of CBT?

early stages of cognitive behavioral therapy

Stage 1

The initial stage of CBT involves a therapist working with their client to identify problematic beliefs they may have. The therapist determines specific destructive patterns of thought and why they are destructive to the client.

This is a form of functional analysis. Clients are to understand how their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in certain situations can then contribute to the emergence and persistence of maladaptive forms of behavior.

Clinicians work to help clients through this often-difficult process. Clients begin on the path to self-discovery. Ideally, they are then able to move on to the succeeding stages of the treatment process.

Stage 2

CBT therapists are determined to equip their client with the necessary skills to face real-world situations that may have triggered maladaptive behaviors in the past. This can involve teaching new and healthier ways to cope with these situations. When these mechanisms are used, they should be able to reduce the likelihood of a relapse.

Later Stages

Recovery and the success of CBT is gradual. The client needs to be able to practice and exercise their new skills in real-world applications. They can start slow and attain reachable goals by setting small milestones on the way to full recovery.

Try CBT with clinicians from the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy in Westport, CT. We are a private group practice that provides comprehensive and individualized mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Our therapy programs provide you with support and resources to help you navigate and recover from emotional and behavioral challenges.

Contact us at 1-888-745-3372 or fill out our form today.

Missed Meals: Elderly Anorexia and How to Help Your Loved Ones Deal with It

elderly man

Eating and anxiety disorders are the leading cause of death among the elderly, according to recent data from nutrition magazine Today’s Dietitian. The magazine also stated that anorexia nervosa is a significant factor among those fatalities. This is contrary to popular belief that eating disorders mostly occur in adolescents and teens.

Understanding the Disorder

Treatment of eating disorders should be taken seriously. The article noted that body image, a common cause of eating disorders in teens, isn’t much of a concern for the elderly. Instead, their anorexia is caused by both physical and psychological factors. These include changes in their sense of smell and taste, deteriorating brain function, and grief caused by the death of a loved one. These problems could escalate into more serious ones like depression. It may cause them to reject food either as a way to seek attention or to actively commit suicide.

A Prevalent Problem

A recent study published in International Psychogeriatrics showed that majority (over 88%) of the elderly with eating disorders had anorexia. The study also showed that these disorders usually came later in their lives. The researchers reviewed 48 papers about eating disorders among people over the age of 50. It showed that death was common among these cases, as there was a 21% mortality rate across all the studies observed.

The discussions above have shown that eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa, are very serious illnesses that the older population suffers. Here’s what you can do to help your elderly loved one deal with their condition.

Let Them Open Up and Offer Support

If your elderly loved one has an independent spirit, they might not ask for help outright. Based on a research paper that detailed the physical factors that contribute to anorexia, these may include problems like eating alone, difficulty in getting and cooking food, and even ill-fitting dentures. Issues like these often hinder older adults from enjoying their meals.

You’d often hear your loved one say that they’re not hungry or they’d take a few bites and say that it’s enough. If this happens way too often, ask them if they’re having problems eating or preparing their meals. If they don’t acknowledge their problem, let them know that you’re there for them if they need any help.

It’s better to have them open up to you than to interrogate them about their eating habits. Intrusive questions that lead to arguments could cause them to spiral further into their disorder. Just make sure to keep your lines of communication open.

Getting Professional Help

When your loved one finally acknowledges that they’ve been skipping meals, you should get professional help immediately. Mayo Clinic suggests asking for help from a psychologist first to schedule therapy sessions. You should also see a psychiatrist for their medication.

A physician and a dentist should give your loved one checkups for any physical issues that might have emerged from their disorder. Ask their doctor to recommend a dietitian in Westport that can provide a nutrition plan for your loved one.

Anorexia is a frightening illness that some older adults have to deal with. It’s difficult to see them suffer despite your efforts to provide them with tasty meals. Remember that eating disorders are often accompanied by mental illness such as depression. Show your loved one that you care and are doing your best to understand. Let them know that you’re with them through their journey towards a healthy mind and body.

Getting Much-Needed Therapy

Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are often difficult to treat without therapy. The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health gives comprehensive treatment plans for patients with these conditions. The plans are made to help people manage their desire to binge or their lack of interest in eating.

It’s our goal to provide a safe and comfortable environment that supports your loved one’s mental healing. Know more about our holistic approach to therapy by contacting us today.

suffering from an eating disorder

University Life: The Impact of Eating Disorders on College Students

College can be tough for some students. Apart from dealing with all the requirements of their course, they also face challenges that they may choose to keep to themselves. This struggle often leads to complications, like eating disorders, that affect their overall wellbeing.

Unhealthy eating habits can lead to serious health problems, such as nerve damage, multi-organ failure, and bone loss, among others. Although treatments for people with bulimia and anorexia exist, it’s critical to first determine the reasons behind the eating disorder.

Eating Disorders are Common in College

Statistics show that about 30 million Americans may deal with a type of eating disorder, such as binge-eating, anorexia, and bulimia, at some point in their life. Anyone can have an eating disorder, regardless of age and gender.

Researchers explain that eating problems are likely to occur or worsen during the college years. A survey shows that 10 percent of college students have an eating disorder. Social pressure to make friends, get involved in a romantic relationship, and fear of gaining weight are some factors that can trigger the development of such conditions.

Although several factors can cause eating disorders, a negative body image is a major contributor to this problem. Some individuals would develop unhealthy habits, such as vomiting, improper use of laxatives, and excessive exercise, to avoid gaining weight.

Diminishing Personal Relationships

An eating disorder usually develops due to underlying emotional or psychiatric issues, which in some cases, are not rooted in the desire to lose weight. This can be a coping strategy for dealing with the issues some people find difficult to face.

Apart from peer pressure, major life changes trigger the development of unhealthy eating habits among college students. As the eating disorder progresses, it compromises the patient’s relationship with their loved ones.

You may feel hopeless in thinking that you can’t help a loved one recover from an eating disorder. People facing this condition tend to isolate themselves and avoid social interactions, especially with their loved ones. Eating disorders can feed people with negative thoughts and behaviors that can ruin relationships.

Helping College Students Recover

An eating disorder is a serious condition that needs an immediate solution. Some students, however, don’t undergo treatment for several reasons. These include:

  • They don’t know they have an eating disorder
  • They feel embarrassed about their condition
  • They are not aware of treatment options

Recovering from an eating disorder can be different for individuals. But it is essential for every person struggling with this condition to feel safe in a supportive and loving environment. You can help a loved one by recognizing the signs of eating disorders and then gently expressing your concern for their wellbeing.

Listen. Understand. And support the person through their struggle. You can also suggest they speak with a counselor.

Here at the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, we offer therapies, like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, to help people recover from eating disorders. Our team of psychiatrists provides a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment to manage the condition better.

We practice a holistic approach to mental health where we guide individuals in understanding unpleasant feelings without judgment. These techniques can help them develop strong coping strategies against their condition.

Contact us today to know more about our programs.