Blog

Anxiety and Eating Disorders: Connection and Treatment

Anxiety disorders have evolved into a modern-day phenomenon due to social media, poor sleep hygiene, and reliance on stimulants like caffeine.
Regardless of age, gender, race, or nationality, people tend to have more than one disorder depending on their lifestyle and surroundings.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder are some of the most prevalent anxiety-related illnesses that may develop into eating disorders.
Whether symptoms develop in childhood or later in life, anxiety may be triggered by several things, and it is treatable.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders are accompanied by symptoms that can be prevalent among people.
Below is a list of some generally known anxiety symptoms:

  • Hyperventilation (breathing rapidly)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling easily fatigued
  • Feeling agitated, nervous, or tense
  • Sweating and tremors
  • Feeling of forthcoming danger or panic
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Need to avoid anxiety-generating situations
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
  • Urge to avoid situations that trigger anxiety

Common Treatment Methods

Diagnosing and treating co-occurring anxiety and eating disorders is vital.
One can trigger the other, and it is most often the case that the anxiety disorder triggers the eating disorder.
But the reverse is not excluded either.
Our eating habits are the one thing in life we have absolute control over. However, we can make unhealthy nutrition decisions that can lead to long-term consequences.
We can effectively treat anxiety and eating disorders by implementing various methods.
The combination of mental health therapy and medication is considered the best combination for efficient treatment.

Medication Treatment

Medication treatment is effective and safe, often used together with therapy.
Medication treatment requires patience depending on the severity of symptoms or individual circumstances.
Finding the proper short-term or long-term medication that works best for the patient might take some time.
Depending on the type of anxiety and the patient’s mental and physical health, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.
In some instances, the patient may have to take sedatives or beta-blockers, which provide short-term relief.

Therapy Treatment

Mental health therapy is a proven successful treatment for anxiety and eating disorders.
Psychological counseling involves working together with a therapist to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
Dialectical Behavior therapy may treat a number of behavioral and cognitive issues.
While Dialectical Behavior therapy is comprehensive, the best treatment for both anxiety and eating disorder treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Considered to be an evidence-based treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped treat most mental illnesses.
As a short-term treatment, it helps patients learn specific skills that help them return to activities they have avoided because of the anxiety.
Situations and objects that trigger anxiety are slowly approached, helping patients overcome anxiety symptoms.
At the same time, they learn to manage common triggers and build confidence.

Effective Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Connecticut

If you’re struggling to navigate your anxiety, which has affected your eating habits, the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health can offer advice and services for treatment.
We work with patients from the Connecticut community to aid their anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
Our mental health professionals implement the latest Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy techniques to ensure effective treatment.
Our dedicated team of psychotherapists helps clients navigate behavioral and emotional challenges, making mental health a priority.
Call us at 1-203-307-5788 or contact us via an online form to schedule an appointment.

What suicidal ideation is, who are most affected, and what you can do to help

suicidal-ideation-suicidal-thoughts-suicidal-behaviors

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2019. But with the sudden lockdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting feelings of isolation, researchers have shown that there’s also an increase in people having suicidal thoughts.

In this article, The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH), an advocate for emotional and mental well-being in Westport, aims to shed light on what suicidal ideation is, who are most affected, and what you can do to help.

In this article, The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH), an advocate for emotional and mental well-being in Westport, aims to shed light on what suicidal ideation is, who are most affected, and what you can do to help.

What is suicidal ideation?

Suicidal ideation refers to the thoughts people have of killing themselves.
These suicidal thoughts may include ideas of harming themselves or the general idea of wanting to die.

They’re called ideations because not everyone who has them acts on them. However, that doesn’t mean they should just be ignored.

More than just thoughts, suicidal ideation also broadly covers suicidal behaviors:

Suicidal threat – At this point, the sufferer tells other people about their suicidal thoughts
Suicide attempt – The sufferer pushes through with their plans to kill themselves but does not result in their death
Non-suicidal self-injury – Causing intentional and direct injuries to themselves that may or may not be intended to cause death

Suicidal ideation scale

Suicidal ideation scales are tools healthcare professionals use to assess how likely someone is to hurt themselves. These assessments can offer early intervention and treatment for affected individuals.

Some of these assessments include Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale, Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage, and Patient Health Questionnaire-9.
They may use one or more of these scales to identify the severity of someone’s suicidal thoughts.

Types of suicidal ideation

Active ideation – They constantly think about dying and have plans to commit suicide.
Passive ideation – They constantly think about death and dying but do not have plans to commit suicide.

Who are the most affected?

The people more likely to be at risk of having suicidal thoughts are those who suffer from:

● Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder
● A recent loss or tragedy
● High stress levels
● Past trauma
● Chronic pain

Those who have a family history of suicide and dabble in the use of illegal drugs are also likely to think about suicide and death often.

Signs to watch out for

It may not always be easy to spot, but people who are prone to think about suicide say they feel no emotion or they’re hopeless.
They feel like they’re trapped in a situation, and death is the only escape.
They might also feel guilty or ashamed of these feelings, claiming that they are nothing but a burden to friends and family.

They might also show signs of extreme distress or act aggressively.
You might also want to note if they’re behaving recklessly or impulsively when they’re normally rational.

If the suicidal ideation is severe, they might even go as far as to buy weapons or get their affairs in order by making a will or getting rid of items with sentimental value.

What can be done to combat it?

If you’re concerned that someone you care for might be at risk of suicidal ideation, the first thing to be done is to ask them outright if they have thoughts of harming or killing themselves. Doing so will not make them about suicide, say mental health experts.

You’ll also want to remain supportive by talking to them and checking in regularly.
You could also provide them with important lifelines like National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Seek the Help of Professionals

Perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your loved one is to seek the help of mental health professionals.
They’re in the best position to help your friend or family member get through the dark times.

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH) has been helping children, adolescents, and adults begin their healing since 2015.
We understand how difficult it can be to watch a loved one struggle mentally and emotionally.
We aim to provide a thorough and effective treatment plan through cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

Request an appointment today to get a treatment plan for suicidal ideation.

Anxiety and Depression: The Pandemic and Its Impact on the Mental Health of Youth

anxiety-and-depression-in-youth-through-the-pandemic

Multiple studies on the pandemic’s effect on mental health have shown an increase in the rates of anxiety and depression symptoms in youth.

According to the results of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, 1 in 3 teen girls and 1 in 5 teen boys have experienced new or worsening anxiety since March 2020.
Meanwhile, a report by the U.S. Surgeon General found that symptoms of anxiety and depression in youth doubled during the pandemic.

Read on to learn the factors that contribute to this recent increase in depression and anxiety in young people and what can be done to improve their mental wellness.

Causes of Worsening Mental Health in Teens and Pre-Teens

Mental wellness among young people had already been declining even before the pandemic.
According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 high school students experienced persistent sadness and hopelessness in 2019.
Meanwhile, a report by WHO estimated that 3.6% of children aged 10 to 14 and 4.6% of teens aged 15 to 19 have experienced an anxiety disorder.

Preteens and teens are faced with many challenges, even in ordinary times.
They are faced with countless changes and must learn to navigate difficult situations at home, at school, and in social settings.
Now, young people must also deal with the changes and challenges brought by the pandemic.

There is no single reason why young people get anxious or depressed during the pandemic.
Instead, there are many triggers and factors that play a role in developing anxiety or depression. Some examples are:

  • Grief and loss: More than 140,000 children in the U.S. have had a parent or grandparent caregiver pass away due to COVID-19.
  • Feeling unmoored: For many young people, the COVID-19 pandemic is a traumatic event that upended their lives and routines. Unpredictability and the inability to be in control of their lives are particularly difficult for teens and preteens to cope with.
  • Isolation: Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have forced young people to miss out on opportunities to socialize with their peers, such as at prom, football games, and other school activities. Dating—critical to the development of social skills, self-identity, and emotional maturity—has also been made difficult due to pandemic-related restrictions.

Anxiety and Depression in Young People: Identifying the Signs

Anxiety and depression manifest in different ways, but their symptoms often overlap.
The following are some of the most common symptoms of both mental health conditions in preteens and teens:

  • Irritability, unexplained outbursts, and other changes in behavior
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Spending more time alone
  • Physical changes, such as extreme fatigue, changes in eating habits, and headaches
  • A decline in academic performance
  • Low self-esteem and constant seeking of reassurance
  • Excessive Internet use

Addressing Anxiety and Depression in Teens and Preteens

Parents and caregivers may find that young people are often reluctant to talk about their emotions or moods. However, having a discussion is critical to gaining insight into the teen or preteen’s challenges and needs.
A discussion also lets teens and preteens know that they are loved, validated, and supported.

It is also critical to seek help from a mental health professional, especially if signs and symptoms of anxiety or depression last for more than two weeks.
They will conduct a screening to help with diagnosis and recommend interventions and treatments.
These may include medication and therapy.

Reach Out to a Licensed Therapist

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH) is staffed by a team of experienced and compassionate mental health professionals, including licensed clinical social workers (CSWs) and psychotherapists.
Our services include individual and family therapy, group skills training, and telehealth therapy.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our approach to mental wellness and our individualized treatment plans for anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.

Child in divorce therapy

How to Help Your Kids Through a Divorce

While trends since the early 2000s suggest that divorce rates in the U.S. are falling, there are still roughly 750,000 divorces a year in the country. With just under 2 children on average per family, about 1.5 million children per year experience their parents going through a divorce or separation. How to Help Your Kids Through a Divorce?

Divorce has many negative effects on children, as this marks a difficult time in their lives that they may not be equipped to process. Cognitive Behavioral Health offers the following advice to parents to help their children adapt:

The Effects of Divorce on Children

Because divorce signifies a massive change for the child, and because parents going through a divorce are also undergoing emotional turmoil, negative behaviors can manifest in children:

  • feelings of guilt
  • anxiety or depression
  • poor academic performance
  • resentment towards one or both parents
  • social withdrawal
  • no longer participating in activities they used to enjoy

Children of divorce are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors like alcohol and substance abuse.

children in divorce situation

What Can A Parent Do?

Co-parent

If possible, arrange to co-parent. Make sure that your interactions with your spouse are not hostile, as kids can recognize signs of hostility and this can increase their distress. Co-parenting also shows the children that their parents are still willing to communicate and work together to establish a new family structure.

Try to maintain continuity and stability where possible

It’s important to remember that children thrive on routines. One of the reasons divorce affects many kids so keenly is the massive disruption to their every day lives. Putting in effort to restore stability can help them to cope.

If you have a regular activity with the kids for example (play dates, game nights, etc.) try to make sure these still happen. This assures them that not everything is going to change, and there are still some things they can rely on.

Don’t put the children in the middle of your conflict

Behavior that shows hostility to the spouse, whether overtly or not, can still cause anxiety for your children. This includes:

  • telling them negative things about your spouse
  • asking them to choose or compare parents
  • having them relay messages between parents

Putting the kids in the middle can make them feel like participants of the divorce, which can have a negative impact on their mental and emotional well-being.

Communicate

Many parents try to hide details of the divorce, believing this will shield the children from the impact. Doing this, however, can have the opposite effect: if kids are not told the truth about what’s going on, they will look for answers themselves. Failing that, they can start creating their own answers, and then factors like guilt and unfounded resentment come into play.

Telling them about what is happening (living arrangements, schedules, etc) and also talking to them about their feelings and yours can help bring the family members closer together and let you depend on each other for emotional support.

Be mindful, however, of the information you’re about to share, and make sure it’s information that your kids are able to handle. The nature of the marital conflict (especially affairs, abuse, etc.) may not be age-appropriate.

If the information will not aid them in understanding or coping with the separation, then you don’t have to share it with them.

Get Professional Help

Having the family talk to a professional can help family members sort through their emotions and learn to cope and communicate better. Family therapy will give you and your children the tools you need to express yourselves, manage conflict, and provides a safe space to connect with each other and work out conflicts.

In an emotionally-charged home environment both during and after a divorce, these skills will be valuable to ensure the mental and emotional development of everyone in the family.

The Center of Cognitive Behavioral Health offers family counseling in Westport, CT to provide families that have experienced a divorce a way to gain a deeper understanding of each other. Find out more about how we can help on our family psychotherapy page.

Anxiety of Being Back in the Office

Back to Work Blues: How You can Cope with Anxiety of Being Back in the Office

Why do we have Back To Work Blues? For over a year, people have been asked to self-isolate at home.  Many worked work remotely as a social distancing measure. In 2020, almost 70% of full-time workers went remote. But multiple studies have shown that longer durations of isolation were linked to poor mental health.

With limited movement and interactions, the quarantine period has caused stress and anxiety to many people. But returning to work after quarantine has brought up new mental health concerns.

The Center for Cognitive and Behavior Therapy, which offers dialectical behavior therapy in Westport, shares helpful ways to deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with going back to work.

Workers’ Mental Health  After Quarantine

It’s typical for people to experience stress and feelings of uncertainty following a sudden, major life change, whether it’s a personal tragedy or a global pandemic.

With the threat of COVID-19 still around, workers are likely to experience the following on the verge of returning to work:

  • Feelings of dread and anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty functioning in social situations

One survey found that the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among working Americans is now 83% higher than before the pandemic. Those aged 40-59 have also shown 94% higher risk of general anxiety disorder (GAD). This could mean that a sudden return to the workplace won’t be easy for workers and can significantly impact their mental well-being.

stressed from work

How To Deal With Stress and Anxiety In Returning To Work

Feeling stressed and anxious over returning to work is a normal response after staying at home for a long time. But there are several things you can do to cope better.

Acknowledge Your Anxiety

Hiding your anxious feelings won’t make you feel better. It can only keep you feeling trapped, causing the anxiety to perpetuate. But recognizing anxiety and acknowledging it can help you take steps toward feeling better, even if it’s as simple as taking a deep breath or getting some exercise.

Establish A New Type of Routine

The routines you had during while working from home means you have to unlearn a few things. It might help to slowly transition yourself by establishing new routines for work, such as:

  • waking up earlier than usual
  • finding something to enjoy on your commute
  • taking regular breaks
  • making a point to catch up with colleagues

Communicate Your Concerns

Talking to a family or friend may help you deal with anxiety. You can also talk to your supervisor or HR department, many of which now recognize that many employees may have difficulty transitioning back to the office.

Seek Mental Health Support

You don’t have to go through it all alone. If you’re having difficulty coping with stressful events and managing your emotions, it’s best to seek mental health support or teletherapy. While everybody feels stressed and anxious at times, it’s important to recognize when these feelings have become more than a temporary thing.

Don’t hesitate to get help from a mental health professional, especially if feelings of sadness, hopelessness, exhaustion and frustration are:

  • Present most of the time
  • Persisting for about two weeks or more
  • Affecting your daily life negatively

Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Contact The Center for Cognitive Behavioral Health today. We have experienced and qualified therapists to help you navigate any emotional and behavioral challenges.

therapist

When Do You See A Therapist About Your Anxiety?

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are affecting 40 million adults in the US each year but only 36.9% get treatment

For most people, deciding to seek therapy can be difficult. Because anxiety is a common emotion, many don’t see the need to seek professional help, thinking that they just need to adapt to their situations better. Some don’t know when to see a therapist, while others are afraid of the stigma attached to seeing a therapist. 

Normal Anxiety vs. Problematic Anxiety

In order to get help, it’s crucial to distinguish between normal anxiety and anxiety disorder. Normal anxiety usually occurs in response to stressful situations, like an upcoming exam, or a new job. It is intermittent and can help you stay focused or accomplish your goals. 

But unmanageable and long-standing feelings of anxiety can be a sign of serious mental health issues like anxiety disorders. Such cases often need online counseling or therapy interventions to be treated. 

Here are some considerations to know when it’s time to see a therapist about your anxiety. 

When It Feels Impossible To Regulate the Emotion

Feeling sad, anxious, or angry from time to time is natural. However, it’s crucial to pay attention to how often and long you feel these emotions. You might need further help if you’re feeling chronic or recurring excessive anxiety with the following emotional symptoms: 

  • Feelings of apprehension 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Irritability 

You’re Experiencing Physical Issues

Anxiety is a product of the body’s fight or flight response. That’s why you may experience some physical symptoms when you are in an anxious state. But if your anxiety is associated with the following symptoms for the past 6 months without any medical cause, it might be a signal that you need help. 

  • Being easily fatigued
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach upset

You’ve Recently Experienced a Traumatic Event

Traumatic life events are the biggest contributors to anxiety and depression. If you have anxiety because of an accident, or after experiencing violence or any of the other common sources of trauma, you should see a licensed counselor or therapist. Even just coming in for a few sessions of counseling can help determine the extent of the help you need to process the event.

Your Coping Method is Causing You Harm

Talking to a friend, exercising, or participating in hobbies and activities are some healthy ways to calm your anxiety. But you might need professional help if you’re turning to unhealthy coping styles, such as the following: 

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Taking recreational drugs
  • Bouts of physical violence (hitting objects or people)
  • Avoiding family and friends

Anxiety Interferes With Your Daily Life

If your anxiety causes significant distress or hinders your ability to function normally in your school, job or daily life, it can be an indicator that you need to seek therapy or online counseling. Note that avoidance is a symptom of problematic anxiety and might cause you to skip school, stop going to work, or avoid any normal activity that might trigger anxiety. 

How Can A Therapist Help You? 

Seeing a therapist can be anxiety-inducing on its own. But they can help you figure out how serious your anxiety is, what’s causing it, and learn different strategies to cope with its symptoms. 

If you want to talk through what you’re dealing with, contact us to request a consultation or to inquire about how we can help.

bulimia

Bulimia Eating Disorder Intervention: When and How to Do It

Eating disorders affect 9 percent of the population or 28.8 million Americans. Bulimia, in particular, affects 1.2 percent of adults in the country. Nearly 3 percent of people with bulimia have the disorder for life.

If anyone you care for has symptoms of bulimia, you may be able to change their lives for the better by intervening at the right time and convincing them to seek treatment for their eating disorder. People with eating disorders are sensitive about their condition and many will lash out or deny their condition when asked. Eating disorder intervention, therefore, takes finesse and genuine care and concern for the person you suspect of having the disorder.

So how should you help someone with bulimia? When and how should you do it? We offer some tips in this article.

Recognizing People with Bulimia

The best time for bulimic intervention is as early as possible. If you suspect that a loved one has bulimia, you need to verify if your suspicions are correct.

There are two types of bulimia that are medically recognized: binge-eating and bulimia nervosa.

Binge-eating is exactly how it sounds: people who develop this disorder have recurring binge eating “episodes” during which they cannot control the urge to eat. They become very distressed about these episodes, but they don’t go through a “purging” phase. This is explains the prevalence of obesity among people with binge-eating disorder.

Purging or throwing up the food you eat is distinctive to bulimia nervosa. People with this disorder also go through a period of excessive exercising or fasting after each binge-eating episode. This is because they feel  immense guilt while and after binge-eating, and they want to make up for their excessive consumption by drastically cutting their diet.

If your loved one’s behavior matches these tendencies, they might indeed need treatment for bulimia.

Other Signs of Bulimia

bulimia

Besides binge-eating and subsequent fasting and exercising, here are other signs to watch out for:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Frequent bouts of sore throat, stomach pains, and diarrhea
  • Significant weight loss and/or fluctuating weight
  • Making excuses to skip meals
  • Obsessively counting calories and taking diet pills
  • Eating only small portions
  • Eating excessively when stressed, bored, or anxious
  • Hiding stashes of high-calorie food
  • Taking showers after eating (running water hides retching sounds)
  • Obsessively using mints and mouthwash (to hide the smell that comes with vomiting)
  • Wears loose clothes to conceal their body shape and weight
  • Large quantities of food mysteriously disappear from the fridge or pantry

A person with these physical symptoms and behaviors very likely have the eating disorder.

Approaching a Person Suffering from Bulimia

The next part is the most difficult: talking to the person whom you suspect of having bulimia.

There’s no one sure way to initiate an intervention, although we discourage highly-charged, emotional confrontations. Instead of feeling supported and cared for, the person might feel attacked instead and refuse any help with their bulimia.

A few more things to think about:

  • Make it a private conversation if possible. Although it’s good to involve the family, “airing out dirty laundry” before a crowd, no matter how well-meaning, will be unwise. The person you want to help might feel embarrassed, terrified, and worse, harassed.
  • Avoid having an aggressive, accusatory tone and “you” statements like “You’re not eating!” or “You look unhealthy!” The person might become defensive and resist your support.
  • Be specific and talk about the behaviors and symptoms you observed.
  • Make it clear that you’re not ashamed of the person, but that you’re willing to help them get better. Likewise, help them understand that they should not feel ashamed, and that there are others like them who overcame bulimia and got well.
  • Ask about their feelings and focus on that instead of how they are with food (bulimia is often a response to another issue, like sadness or anxiety).
  • Never make promises you cannot fulfill, especially if the person asks you to keep their disorder a secret (you may have to inform their guardians and family if their disorder gets worse and their life is in danger).
  • Don’t say, “Just stop,” and avoid commenting about their weight.
  • Show that you care, but make the person realize that they must be responsible for their actions.
  • Not all interventions succeed at once. Family members and friends may have to keep reassuring and encouraging their loved ones to seek treatment. It can take days, weeks, even months before a loved one will agree to seeing a psychiatrist. In some cases, however, you cannot afford to wait for the person to be “ready” for treatment, i.e., they are in poor health, in dire need of immediate treatment, and have a secondary condition like self-harm, drug abuse, depression, and suicidal tendencies.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help.

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health can advise you further on how to stage an intervention on a friend or family who may be suffering from bulimia. If and when they’re ready to seek help, they are welcome to seek treatment from our psychiatrists.

Request an appointment today.

Family Counseling

Resolving Family Conflict Through Family Counseling

In 2019, 9.5 percent of adults received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 11.1 percent of children ages 3-17 received treatment or counseling in the same year, reports The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Americans respond positively to counseling is good news. Counseling helps patients identify goals and solutions to their emotional turmoil. Our family counseling services in Westport do the same, teaching families how to deal with conflicts that affect their relationships as well as emotional and mental well-being.

What Is the Goal of Family Counseling?

The goals of counseling are very specific to each patient, or in this case, to each family unit. But the aim of counseling, in general, is to help a family achieve harmony and restore or establish a trusting relationship with one another. At the very least, counseling can help them find closure on long-standing issues that are preventing them from moving past hurts and disagreements.

Even the most loving of families can have major disagreements that cause long-term conflicts between members. Sometimes the problem is due to an unpleasant event, like a serious illness or addiction. Stressors like these can take a toll on all family members, affecting their mental and emotional health and causing rifts in the family dynamics.

By undergoing therapy together, clients can learn how to resolve family conflicts, such as grieving a loss or letting go of unrealistic expectations of one another.

Family Counseling

Types of Family Conflict

Below are the types of family conflict that our counselors often help clients with:

  • Financial problems – Money is one of the most common causes of fights between family members, whether they have too little or too much of it.
  • Tensions arising from the family business – Siblings and family members who work together to keep a business afloat are prone to disagreements. It can be challenging to prevent the animosity from spilling over to family matters.
  • Friction between in-laws – Friction emerges when two families come together because they have different collective habits, interests, traditions, and beliefs.
  • Conflicts between siblings who own or pass over responsibility for aging parents – Siblings fight over who should take responsibility for their parents when there are opposing opinions and disparities in resources (i.e., one can afford a private nurse while another cannot).
  • Conflicts between step-parents and step-children – Children can have varying reactions to their parents who remarry. Some are indifferent while others develop hostile feelings towards their step-parent or step-siblings. These negative emotions are converted into hurtful words and actions and cause even bigger fights in the family.
  • Disagreements over the child-rearing methods between divorced parents – Separated parents who don’t see eye to eye about their children’s upbringing will inevitably get into arguments. Their open hostility and disagreements take a toll on children, especially young ones and teenagers.

Resolve Family Conflicts through Counseling

Family counseling is not an overnight solution, but it is a good start and a healthy way to resolve conflicts in the family. There are several ways to approach family counseling, and they include strategic family therapy and CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy.

As a behavioral center, the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health uses CBT to teach families skills and habits that help them communicate better with one another. Apart from resolving existing issues, we also empower them to prevent future conflicts that may lead to divorce.

Get counseling from highly trained marital and family counselors and therapists in Westport. Request an appointment today.

family therapy

Family Divorce Counseling: Healing Conflicts through Therapy

There’s usually a lot of focus on helping children and parents cope with divorce as it happens. But we believe that they should receive just as much (if not more) counseling after their divorce is finalized.

Here’s one good reason why family counseling and post-divorce therapy is necessary: a social psychologist from the Colorado State University recently found that 13.79 percent of fathers and 19.61 percent of mothers used direct and indirect methods of parental alienation. This refers to the collective efforts of a divorced parent to emotionally distance their child from the other parent.

Why do some parents feel the need to “brainwash” and distort their children’s perception of their ex? How do such actions affect children, and how can they recover from the emotional trauma that can result from having parents who explicitly sabotage one another? These are matters that we address and hope to resolve through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for families that have gone through a divorce.

The Goals of Family Therapy

What is the goal of family counseling? In the context of divorce, the goals of cognitive behavioral family therapy can be:

  • To create a positive and cooperative parenting environment where children are not pulled into any unresolved conflict between the former spouses.
  • To give ex-spouses a venue where they can address sensitive issues and resolve conflict without the children present.
  • To foster a cooperative and at least civil relationship between the ex-spouses so that their children can feel supported and loved from both sides.

A court ruling finalizing a divorce doesn’t put an end to unresolved conflicts between parents and their children, but family counseling after a divorce can help them move in that direction.

Helping Children Deal with Divorced Parents

mom and daughter

Divorce is sometimes necessary, but some children might have a hard time understanding that. Where parents cannot satisfy their questions or appease their hurt feelings, child-focused counseling and CBT may fill in.

There is another area in which these therapies can be helpful: treating anxiety among children of divorce. Studies show that kids experience anxiety, anger, disbelief, and distress in the first one to two years after their parents’ divorce.

Child psychiatrists note that, in their desire to reduce their children’s anxiety, parents coddle them and take over tasks that could have taught them valuable lessons on how to be independent, among other things.

Through family counseling and CBT, children can learn how to deal with divorced parents and the negative feelings they experience during and after the divorce process. Likewise, parents can also become more aware of their actions and the effect they have on their children.

How to Be a Family After Divorce

Ultimately, the purpose of undergoing post-divorce counseling and CBT is for families to heal. Counselors help them rebuild lines of communication, which are essential for regaining each other’s trust and respect.

Through post-divorce therapy, parents will have the tools to rebuild themselves outside of marital context. Everyone can learn healthy ways to deal with negative emotions and correct their problematic responses to them. In the process, they will learn how to become a family after the divorce.

Get the guidance and therapy your family needs at The Center of Cognitive Behavioral Health. Our highly trained family counselors and CBT therapists in Westport will assess your situation, listen to your needs and goals, and deliver a program that will help each member of your family deal with their unresolved hurts and worries.

Start your family’s healing at The Center of Cognitive Behavioral Health. Request an appointment today.

man having a meal

What Is the Recommended Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa?

Nine percent of the global population suffer from eating disorders. The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) and Deloitte Access Economics estimates that in the United States alone, 28.8 million will experience an eating disorder in their lifetime. What Is the Recommended Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa?

The American Addition Centers adds that 1.5 percent of females and 0.5 percent of males in the country have suffered from bulimia.

In Westport, we’ve administered eating disorder treatments to many patients over the years. We understand the prevalence of these disorders, especially bulimia nervosa.

Knowing the struggles of the people who suffer from this disorder, as well as the family or friends of people who do, we’re presenting this overview of the commonly used therapy methods to treat bulimia nervosa.

Recommended Treatments for Bulimia Recovery

Therapists and clinicians who are attending to patients with binge-eating disorders can use different approaches in treating bulimia nervosa.

woman eating out

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with nutritional counseling

Harvard Medical School recommends a treatment program that uses nutritional counseling and psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.

People with bulimia are trapped in a vicious cycle of binge-eating and purging. In their desire to get rid of perceived excess calories, they use laxatives or physically induce vomiting. There is also a subtype of bulimia where patients do not force themselves to vomit, but will exercise to the point of over-exhaustion or stop eating for one or more days.

What follows is ravenous hunger, which patients subdue by binge-eating in a matter of hours. Then the cycle repeats.

All of these take a toll on the physical and mental health of the patient, hence the need for both nutritional counseling and psychotherapy. This approach can heal the body as the patient is taught to acknowledge and change their distorted thoughts about body image. Healthy habits will help break the cycle of bingeing and compensation, while CBT addresses the cause of the patient’s compulsive behavior.

  1. Medication

Studies show that prescribing medication, together with other methods like CBT and interpersonal or family-based therapy, works best for treating bulimia nervosa.

The only drug approved by FDA for treatment of bulimia nervosa is Prozac. However, clinicians may also prescribe anti-depressant medicine like Zoloft (sertraline) and Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride).

Bulimia nervosa patients may have several prescriptions to address different symptoms. This happens when they experience comorbidities like anxiety, stress, depression, and substance abuse.

  1. In-patient treatment

This approach is ideal for patients whose disorder is so severe that they need constant supervision; for patients who:

  • live with people who enable their compulsions instead of helping them recover
  • need distance from people, things, and events that affect their self-esteem
  • thrive in a recovery facility’s environment
  1. Out-patient treatment

Not all patients respond positively to being admitted to binge-eating disorder treatment centers. Those who regress in these facilities will respond better to an out-patient program. This method encourages family involvement and support, which is very helpful to patients. They are also less likely to feel caged or restricted, and that sense of freedom and control can contribute to their recovery.

We can give you more information about these treatment options at The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health. If you or someone you know would like to know needs help to recover from bulimia, our doors and phone lines are open for you.

Start the road to recovery here.