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Diabetes Prevention Missing Essential Component, According to Behavioral Expert

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Roughly 30 million people in the U.S.—9.3 percent of the total population—are currently living with diabetes. Founder of SelfHelpWorks Lou Ryan is urging programs that work to prevent diabetes to include cognitive behavioral training (CBT).

CBT  helps to support the changing emotional needs of diabetics and those who suffer from pre-diabetes alike. These needs often go unmet by many programs, and that can lead to additional problems with the health condition.

“CBT is an effective method for getting rid of unhealthy habits that most people find too tough to give up for any length of time,” said Ryan. “Good examples are smoking or snacking on sugary or starchy foods. These can literally kill a diabetic over time.”

The goal of most programs is to help stop diabetes, and that won’t happen without ending the unhealthy habits. “Knowing you need to stop is very different from actually stopping—that’s where cognitive behavioral training comes in,” Ryan noted. “It’s highly effective in breaking what we call the ’emotional trained response’ that keeps people tied to their cigarettes or unhealthy foods.”

CBT is the process of ending the patterns that result in emotional dependency on unwanted behaviors. It works to replace them with rational responses and healthier patterns. CBT can help change the mindset, which may lead to a more lasting shift. Ryan said, “The emotional impact of diabetes can be devastating . . . It’s critical to have effective emotional tools and strategies for getting back on top.”

For more information, visit www.selfhelpworks.com.