What is Binge Eating Disorder?

By | August 6, 2015

What is binge eating?

Almost everyone overeats occasionally. You may have found yourself “stuffed” after a Thanksgiving dinner or unable to resist the temptation for dessert even when you are full. However, binge eaters have a serious disorder that causes them to overeat continuously and in an uncontrolled manner. If you are suffering from this problem, you will be happy to know that it is a treatable condition if help is sought.

Characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder

  • Continuous episodes of uncontrolled eating
  • Feeling extremely upset or distressed after binging.
  • Unlike bulimia, over exercising, fasting or vomiting are typically not attempted in an effort to “make up” for the binges.

A Vicious Cycle

Although binge eating may be momentarily comforting, reality will eventually set back in, bringing with it self-loathing and regret. If you have suffered from this disorder for a substantial amount of time, you are likely overweight or obese. Even though many people may think that carrying extra weight is motivation to diet, with binge eating disorders, the worse you feel about your appearance, the more inclined you are to use food to cope. In this sense, the disorder becomes a vicious cycle: feeling bad and turning to food for relief, and then feeling even worse and turning back to food once again for comfort.

Negative Emotions

If you are suffering from a binge eating disorder you probably also struggle with feelings of depression, disgust or guilt. You are likely also worried about what compulsive binging will do to your body and wonder why you cannot seem to control your behavior.

Getting Help

There are numerous things you can do to help yourself recover from binge eating and break the cycle. However, if you are like most people, you will need at least some level of professional treatment to completely control your disorder. Medical practitioners who provide treatment for this condition include obesity specialists, eating disorder counselors, cognitive behavior therapists, nutritionists and psychologists

It is important for your treatment program to address more than just your eating habits if it is to be effective in the long term. It should also address the emotional triggers that lead to the disorder. In most cases, difficulty coping with sadness, fear, stress and anxiety are at the root of the condition.

Types of Treatment

Each case is different, but many people being treated for binging disorders see a cognitive behavioral therapist who focuses on the dysfunctional behaviors and thoughts involved in binge eating episodes. The primary goal with this type of therapy is for you to become more aware of how you’re using food to cope. The therapist will also help you recognize and avoid binge eating triggers.

In certain cases, interpersonal psychotherapy is recommended. Such treatment focuses on the interpersonal issues and relationship problems that contribute to compulsive binging.

Finally, dialectical behavior therapy may be suggested for certain patients. This type of therapy combines mindfulness meditation with cognitive-behavioral techniques.

Regardless of the source of your problem, if you are suffering from binge eating disorder, you should seek professional help as soon as possible. This will ensure that you are guided toward the appropriate therapy and ultimately the successful management of your condition.





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