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What are the warning signs?

-A marked increase or decrease in weight not related to a medical condition
-The development of abnormal eating habits such as severe dieting, preference for strange foods, withdrawn or ritualized behavior at mealtime, or secretive bingeing
-An intense preoccupation with weight and body image
-Compulsive or excessive exercising
-Self-induced vomiting, periods of fasting, or laxative, diet pills or diuretic abuse
-Feelings of isolation, depression, or irritability
-Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by primarily self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Bulimia Nervosa is characterized primarily by a cycle of binge-eating followed by compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, in an attempt to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.

Binge Eating

Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating while feeling out of control, ashamed or disgusted over the behavior. -National Eating Disorder Association

Compulsive Eating

Eating disorder vs. Disordered Eating: What is the difference?

If individuals don’t fit the clinical description of an eating disorder, they may be wrapped up in disordered eating. Disordered eating means that a person’s attitudes about food, weight and body size and shape may be causing them to have very strict eating and exercise habits that jeopardize their health, happiness and safety. Disordered eating may begin as a way to lose a few pounds or get in shape, but these behaviors can quickly spiral out of control, can become obsessions and may even become a full-blown eating disorder. -National Eating Disorder Association


A person becomes chemically dependent when he or she develops a craving for a substance in order to feel good or high- or to keep from feeling discomfort of not using the substance. The need for the substance is always psychological but may be physical as well. Chemically dependent people can describe their addiction in various ways:

When I take that first beer, I’d have no intention of getting drunk. Sometimes I didn’t but sometimes I just lost track.
My mind would constantly stay on getting high. It was what got me through the day.

Alcohol was my buddy for twenty years. I never missed a day of work, I never abused my wife or kids and I never got in to trouble with the law. Then one day I realized I was no longer in control. The beer and scotch had taken over.

I don’t smoke pot and drink to get high anymore. I do it to just get by.

Nothing can describe a good cocaine high. Nothing. What else really counts when I experience that kind of feeling?

-Serenity Support Services, Inc.


What is Codependency?

Codependency is defined when someone becomes so preoccupied with someone else that they neglect themselves. In a way, it is the belief that something outside of themselves can give them happiness and fulfillment. The payoff in focusing on someone else is a decrease in painful feelings and anxiety.
Codependency is when people operate as if they are okay only if they please the people around them.

Two different things may be going on:

1. They may be struggling with a strong need to control those around them into giving them the approval they need to feel okay.

2. They minimize their emotions until they hardly experience any emotion at all. No fear, pain, anger, shame, joy, or pleasure. They just exist from one day to the next.


Do you have any of the common signs of depression?

-A change in eating or sleeping

-Feeling tired all the time

-A loss of interest in people and/or activities that once brought you pleasure

-Restlessness or irritability

-Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

-Thinking about death or suicide

If five of these symptoms persist for a two week period, you may be experiencing depression, consult a medical professional for further evaluation.


Developing healthy relationships with family members, friends, co-workers and others is an important life skill.

How many of the following attitudes and behaviors are present in your relationships?

-communication is open and spontaneous (including listening)

-assertiveness: feelings and needs are expressed safely

-rules/boundaries are clear and explicit, yet allows for flexibility

-individuality, freedom and personal identity is enhanced

-acceptance of self and other

-humility: able to let go of the need to be right

-balance of giving and receiving

-conflict is faced directly and resolved

-tolerance: forgiveness of self and other

-mistakes are accepted and learned from

-willingness o take risks and be vulnerable

-each can enjoy being alone and privacy is respected

-personal growth, change and exploration are encouraged

-responsibility for own behaviors and happiness (not blaming other)


Have you ever felt shaky, jittery, sweaty, unable to relax or stop worrying, and all this without a specific situation or a specific stressor to provoke it? If this happens to you frequently, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety can take various forms – panic, phobias, excessive worry – and may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness and chest pain. It is always best to be checked by a medical doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

No matter what its source, whether it is a reaction to a specific stressor or an anxiety disorder, anxiety can be reduced if we become more aware of thoughts that accompany it, and learn tools for effective management of these distressing symptoms.


If You’re Serious About Improving Your Self-Esteem-

1. Know that change IS possible

2. Recognize that change takes time.

3. Analyze the role that low self-esteem has played in your life, and consider what the pay-offs in holding on to it are.

4. Remember, you are not alone, don’t hesitate to reach out to others.

5. Have compassion for yourself.

Self-Esteem Picker Uppers

1. Learn something new every day.

2. Do whatever it takes to feel good about yourself.

3. Cultivate people who give you a sense of importance.

4. Put out of your life anybody who puts you down

5. Do something each day that you do extremely well

6. Concentrate on the things that you like about yourself.

7. If you can change something about yourself that bothers you-do it immediately!

8. Always remember that the people around you who seem so controlled, even smug, could be fighting back panic.

9. Remember, acting confident is a positive step toward BEING confident.


Often, problems that surface in relationships are indications of underlying self-destructive beliefs. If you have difficulty making changes that could help your marriage, it may be because of such ideas. These thoughts are not actually caused by your partner, but were instilled in you from early life experiences. To discover the thoughts you have that cause relationship glitches, ask yourself?

-When my partner’s behavior disturbs me, what does that mean about me?

-How do my partner’s upsetting actions make me feel about myself?

-When did I first have these disturbing thought(s) about myself?

Affirming new thought patterns regularly will help you adopt positive beliefs that can overcome your resistance to change and put you on the fast track to relationship success.


Couples who are planning or contemplating marriage will benefit from learning about their own personal marriage expectations BEFORE entering into this sacred contract. Participation in the Prepare/Enrich Program can help couples explore areas such as: Marital Expectations Sexual Expectations Personality Issues Children and Parenting Communication Family and Friends Conflict Resolution Role Relationship Financial Management Spiritual Beliefs Leisure Activities

The Prepare/Enrich Program, developed by Life Innovations Inc., helps couples discover strengths and growth areas that will enhance existing marriages and prepare the pre-marital couple for a lifetime of happiness.

Visit for more information.


Stages of Grief

1. DENIAL- serves as a psychological buffer to help protect us from feelings we are not ready to deal with mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

2. ANGER- our inability to control the painful loss of someone or something we loved will leads to frustration and angry feelings to emerge. We may find ourselves angry with our lost loved one for dying, or at God for taking that person away. This is a natural and healthy part of the grieving process.

3. DEPRESSION/SORROW/DESPAIR- this is only one part of the process of grief. Tears are the way we cleanse ourselves and they can be extremely helpful in our healing process at this stage. However, when sorrow turns into self-pity, or if we turn to destructive behaviors (such as alcohol and drug use) to cope with our painful feelings, this could be detrimental and professional help is imperative.

4. BARGAINING- Another form of denial, this stage protects us from the reality of acceptance. It allows us to linger in the illusion that we are in control until we are ready to let go. It is a natural part of the grief process, preparing us for the final stage.

5. ACCEPTANCE- This stage is the goal of the grieving process. At this stage, we come to accept the reality of our loss. Having gone through the previous challenging stages, we find ourselves with a sense of peace.

It is important to remember that moving through these stages is not a linear process. The time spent at each stage can be different for each individual. Counseling can help navigate a grieving person through this process.

-stages by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


What happens to people after experiencing a disaster or other traumatic event?

Shock and denial are often the primary responses to unexpected, unforeseen events that have devastating consequences. Denial involves your difficulty in acknowledging the event, or not experiencing fully the intensity of the event. The person experiences numbness and a disconnection from life. As the initial shock subsides, reactions vary from person to person. The following are normal responses to a traumatic event:

-Feelings become intense and sometimes are unpredictable

-Thoughts and behavior patterns are affected by the trauma

-Recurring emotional reactions are common

-Physical symptoms may accompany the extreme stress

Some people are able to cope effectively with the emotional and physical demands brought about by a natural disaster or other traumatic experience by using their own support systems. It is not unusual, however, to find that serious problems persist and continue to interfere with daily living.

Individuals with prolonged reactions that disrupt their daily functioning should consult with a trained and experienced mental health professional to help them find constructive ways of dealing with the emotional impact of the traumatic event.