Category: <span>Self-improvement</span>


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


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.

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.

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.

Dirty Jobs: How to Manage Your Anxiety in a Toxic Work Environment

Dirty Jobs: How to Manage Your Anxiety in a Toxic Work Environment

In some toxic workplaces, running the rat race is the only way to get ahead. However, this can come at the price of your own mental health.

Many working adults have undiagnosed anxiety disorders. Because they are undiagnosed, said adults can sometimes develop an unhealthy behavior of avoiding situations that may trigger anxiety, making it difficult to perform tasks and inadvertently increasing stress.

Psychiatrists in Westport, CT, suggest identifying when a workplace is becoming toxic and taking necessary steps aside from therapy to actively reduce the amount of anxiety and stress that one might feel in the workplace.

Set Your Limits

Draw a line in the sand that you won’t cross when it comes to what work you will take on, tell your boss firmly but gently when a job isn’t ok, and always leave work on time. A toxic boss might frown at this; however, it benefits you in the long run and helps you develop other positive skills such as time management.

Setting physical and emotional limitations for you in the workplace is an effective way of staving off stress and retaining a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. These limitations help you engage positively in a situation that would otherwise trigger anxiety and help you create a coping mechanism that allows you to tackle work at a reasonable pace.

De-Stress When You Can

It might seem minor, but taking a short break every hour or so can significantly decrease stress levels in a person. Often, people forget to take a step back from their work in order to approach it from a different angle. Short breaks can consist of getting up and taking a walk around the office, getting a piece of fruit from the pantry, or it can even be as simple as looking out the window. Whatever the activity, the important part is to disengage from your work briefly to give your mind time to relax and recharge.

Excessive stress can make people perform less effectively, leading to poor results. By taking short pauses throughout the work day, you will feel refreshed every time you return to your task.

Manage Your Reactions

One of the most important things to realize is that, while you cannot control how others act, you can control how you react. Adjusting your cognitive process can significantly help how you manage your feelings and thoughts about certain situations.

By recognizing the limitations of what we can control, we are able to strengthen what we can control by reinforcing beneficial habits through positive thinking and changing the way we perceive the situation you are in.

At the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, we offer various therapies in the treatment of anxiety in adults. Our certified psychiatrists and therapists treat anxiety in adults and help them function better in everyday life. By treating anxiety, the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health hopes to reduce the symptoms of other disorders like depression. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

a woman by the field

Learning How to Manage Your Emotions Leads to a Happier Life

Mental and behavioral disorders have links to a person’s emotional sphere. Even when they’re not the main cause of distress, it’s still inevitable that the conditions will affect how a person feels about themselves and other people. Manage Your Emotions Leads to a Happier Life.

This is why at The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health we focus on helping children, teens, and adults learn how to manage their emotions through dialectic behavior therapy or DBT. Our facility at Westport, Connecticut is equipped with adequate rooms and materials for DBT sessions. We hope that through these interventions, you can learn to be the master of your emotions.

A Focus of Dialectic Behavior Therapy

DBT is therapeutic in nature. Although its first purpose was to treat borderline personality disorder, psychiatrists soon realized its effectiveness for other types of mental and behavioral disorders, like depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, and PTSD.

In our DBT sessions, you will experience one-on-one therapy or group learning activities, depending on which program you choose. Regardless of the type, though, our entire DBT Program has one goal: to teach practical skills that will make you constantly mindful of your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

Strengthen your Mind and Be “Present”

Being a cognitive-behavioral treatment, the key areas that DBT develops in patients is mindfulness. It refers to a person’s awareness of his or her thoughts, emotions, urges, and actions. It is the set of answers to the questions, “What?” and “How?” Think of it as the “collection of data” stage.

Learning this skill enables you to take a step back and look at your circumstance with a clearer eye. Without awareness, it’s not possible to manage — even change — emotions.

Notice that the principle of mindfulness aligns with the rehabilitation process of people dealing with addictions. Before they can do something about their problem, they need to be aware and acknowledge that there is, indeed, an issue to address.

Avoiding Distress is Not the Answer

Psychiatrists and therapists will tell you that the best way to deal with emotions is to accept and tolerate, not avoid them. Tolerance in this respect, however, doesn’t mean letting emotions cloud your decisions. It’s more about accepting that you’re currently in a challenging situation and then choosing to do something about it.

This is distress tolerance, a common approach to mental health treatments. Through DBT, you will learn how to bear negative emotions skillfully.

Managing Emotions: How Do You Do This?

There is a generic answer to this question: when you experience a negative emotion, and you feel the urge to succumb to certain behaviors or addictions, stop and take the opposite action. This is the active and practical application of mindfulness, distress tolerance, and changing emotions. If you master it, you’ll be able to choose the path to happiness over depression, anxiety, anger, and so forth.

It’s not quick or easy to learn how to manage or change emotions. The unwavering support of family and friends, as well as the guidance of experienced therapists who care about you overcoming your disorders, will be of great help.

Allow us to help you succeed in this journey. The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health offers four modes of treatment to accommodate different levels of need. To learn more about Manage Your Emotions Leads to a Happier Life, contact us today.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills to Help You Enjoy the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time of joy for many people. Some, however, dread and struggle through this time as the whole holiday experience can be exhausting. While it may not be possible for people to control the situation around them, they can practice individual Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills to Help You Enjoy the Holiday Season.

If you want to create a more stress-free and enjoyable season for yourself and others, keep these skills in mind.


This core mindfulness skill is about completely immersing yourself in what you’re doing at the moment. Practicing this skill allows you to gently let go of distractions so you can get back to who you are during the holiday season.

Always remember that you can participate either in misery or stress or in the various opportunities for joy that the season brings to people.

Build Positive Experience (BPE)

BPE begins with being mindful of positive events happening around you. People sometimes miss opportunities for connection or fun as they drown in their worries and problems. Take advantage of the positives that are possible this season. Some things you can do to build positive experiences Skills to Help You Enjoy the Holiday Season:

  • Watch time-honored films
  • Listen to your favorite holiday music
  • Schedule times for community functions, get-togethers, and other events

Attend to Relationships (A2R)

Relationships are similar to plants. When you do not water them, they wither and die. So, take the time to practice A2R. Send pictures or cards to your loved ones. Alternatively, connect with people by Skype, phone, or in person. The important thing is to let the important people in your life know that they matter to you.

If you believe you need or can benefit from DBT in Westport, CT, schedule a DBT session with The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health. We will work closely with you to create and implement a personalized treatment plan.

Contact us today.


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