Understanding Binge Eating and It’s Treatment


Photo: Yay Images

For several months, Chindeep has looked at the various Anxiety and Mood disorders, as part of the mental health series, the focus now shifts to eating disorders., the most prevalent eating disorder in the USA.

The I don’t know about you, but I gained about 15-20 pounds in the past two years. Pre pandemic, I was out and about in the community, walking between 10-20k steps per day, fit as ever. Sitting at home, dying from boredom, it became impossible to control my cravings. Did I binge eat? Hell Yeah. More than once? You betcha. Disgusted, I looked inward. Binge-eating involves more than simply overeating, it is a mental health related related disorder, associated with inappropriate eating habits and challenging emotions. 

Binge-Eating Defined
Binge-eating is a medical and psychological condition during which a person eats large amounts of food over short periods of time. Regardless of the signals their bodies send that they’re full, those who binge, to continue eat amounts of food that surpass normal portions. Binge-eating involves more than just eating a double portion of a favorite food. Those who binge might eat 2 cheeseburgers, followed by a half gallon of ice cream, and a box of cookies. 

Typical Thinking Patterns
One who binge-eats engages in unhealthy thinking patterns, which drive them to over-eat. They might feel powerless to arrest aggressive eating behaviors. Even though you might believe a person would feel too ashamed to binge-eat, the fact is that shame can actually emotionally fuel a binge-eating episode. 

Experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as self-loathing and shame is a hallmark symptom of someone who’s dealing with binge-eating. Many people who struggle with binging also have distorted body images. They might believe they’re obese when actually they’re within normal weight standards or only mildly overweight. 

On the other hand, a person who binge-eats could also weigh considerably more than the weight charts recommend for her height and age.  Although the condition does occur in males, it occurs more often in females. Recognize that people who binge can discover optimism and confidence to live successful lives in recovery.

Effective Treatments for Binge-Eating at a glance

  1. Self-help groups. As an example, Overeaters Anonymous can provide wonderful, understanding emotional support for people who struggle.
  2. Individual cognitive therapy. For those who require more professional help, attending individual therapy sessions can make a huge difference. Cognitive therapy is conducted by a trained therapist who works to confront the individual’s distorted body image, unhealthy thinking patterns, and feelings of shame.  Encouraging the person who binge-eats to surround herself with understanding, supportive family and friends is another way a therapist motivates someone in recovery.
  1. Family therapy. If the person who’s dealing with binging is a teen, family therapy in addition to individual therapy can be a life-saver. Difficult family relationships can be confronted and addressed. Everyone learns to relate in healthier ways, which can serve to reduce binging behavior.
  1. Intensive day treatment. In the event you require more intensive treatment than individual, family therapy, and self-help group attendance, intensive day treatment may be an option. These programs provide 2 to 6 hours of professional treatment for binge-eating 3 or more days a week, at an eating disorder treatment center. 
  1. Inpatient treatment stay. This milieu therapy provides a 100% supportive physical and emotional environment around the clock to ensure binge-eating behaviors subside and healthy eating habits increase. Outpatient follow-up treatment to provide much-needed support will be necessary as you transition back into your home environment.

Binge-eating is a medical/psychological condition that involves eating large amounts of food and experiencing emotional turmoil. People can and do overcome the challenging behaviors and feelings associated with binge-eating to embrace healthy, fulfilling lives. 

The key to recovery is recognizing when there is a problem, receiving effective treatment, while gaining caring support of friends and family members, to live a well-deserved, rewarding life. 

To Your Success,
Juan