Find a Therapist
Share this Blog
Get your Self Esteem on.
Wait. Now that you are a grown up person, who is making the rules for your life? Who is telling you what to do?&n...
Feeling Behind in Life: The Myth of the Self Made Man(Person)
By Matt W. Sandford, LMHCI often talk with people who are struggling because they feel that they are behind in life in some w...
Sexual Trauma and Men - A Path to Thriving
Talking about sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape is difficult for anyone. For men, it has it’s own unique challenge...
Healing Grief: Help For Grief Online
Grief is an overwhelmingly painful experience when you've lost someone you love through separation or death. The bond of love...
What to Do About Your Little Boy Husband
By Matt W. Sandford, LMHCI don’t mean to stereotype (too much), but do you think that husbands or boyfriends come in &l...
- August 2011
- September 2011
- October 2011
- November 2011
- December 2011
- January 2012
- February 2012
- March 2012
- April 2012
- May 2012
- June 2012
- July 2012
- August 2012
- September 2012
- October 2012
- November 2012
- December 2012
- January 2013
- February 2013
- March 2013
- April 2013
- May 2013
- June 2013
- July 2013
- August 2013
- September 2013
- October 2013
- November 2013
- December 2013
- January 2014
- February 2014
- March 2014
- April 2014
- May 2014
- June 2014
- July 2014
Binge Eating Disorder: What Is it?
Even the most disciplined of us occasionally overeats, helping ourselves to seconds or even third portions, especially on holidays or at parties. This is not a binge eating disorder. It becomes a disorder when the bingeing occurs regularly and is accompanied by shame and secrecy. The binger is deeply embarrassed about overeating and vows never to do it again. However the compulsion is so strong that subsequent urges to gorge themselves cannot be resisted.The DSM-V, released by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2013, legitimizes the suffering of millions of Americans by designating Binge Eating Disorder as a psychiatric illness which may make it possible to get the cost of treatment reimbursed by insurance.
According to the DSM-V, binge eating disorder is characterized by several behavioral and emotional signs:
Recurrent episodes of binge eating occurring at least once a week for three monthsEating a larger amount of food than normal during a short time frame (any two-hour period)Lack of control over eating during the binge episode (feeling you can’t stop eating or control what or how much you are eating)Binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:Eating until feeling uncomfortably fullEating large amounts of food when not physically hungryEating much more rapidly than normalEating alone out of embarrassment over quantity eatenFeeling disgusted, depressed, ashamed, or guilty after overeating
In addition there is marked distress regarding binge eating present, it is not associated with frequent inappropriate behavior such as purging, excessive exercise, etc. Also it does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia or anorexia.
There are many reasons people binge. Everyone uses food to meet needs other than hunger sometimes. It is not about an “event” of overeating. It is about a “pattern of behavior”. It’s also important to remember the relationship with food and eating behaviors are the symptoms of more profound underlying factors for most people with Binge Eating Disorder. Individuals with Binge Eating Disorder use food to:
EscapeReward themselvesAvoid a stressful issue or problemSooth anxiety, fear, shame, grief, and lonelinessExpress anger or frustrationRebel from dieting, from others needs, from the “rules”Distract from feelings, people, and feared situations or stressorsDistract from disturbing memories of traumatic experiences
While the exact causes are unknown, several factors are thought to play a part in binge eating disorder. The combination of causes and risk factors varies from person to person. Possible factors include genetics, a history of significant weight changes due to dieting or restrictive /irregular eating patterns, depression, mood disorders, weight related discrimination or bullying, problems with significant relationships, trauma and loss, emotional abuse or neglect, addictions, and sexual trauma.
People who are obese and also have binge eating disorder may be at greater risk for several potentially life-threatening complications, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, gallbladder disease, certain cancers, osteoarthritis, joint and muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems, depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
The experience of living with binge eating disorder is as distressing as any other eating disorder and often accompanied by a belief that it is a willpower issue and they are simply not “strong enough” to stop. Within a diet and thin-focused culture, the focus has been on weight loss as the goal. This “treatment” is often promoted by well-intentioned friends, family, and professionals. But with binge eating, dieting is a causal factor in the development of binge eating disorder. So it’s essential for treatment to provide alternatives to dieting for improving health and body image. In fact, weight loss as a goal of treatment—as opposed to goals of improved self care–can be damaging to the process of recovery.
For recovery to be lasting, people typically work with trained therapists, physicians, and others to address any underlying mood disorders, family dynamics, and complications from trauma. Ultimately, individuals must learn to treat themselves with the compassion and self-awareness needed for lasting recovery.
Recovery is typically an ongoing life-long process of growth and insight. But change is possible. Treatment is about helping people and their supporters begin this process successfully and knowing it will not be a perfect journey. There will be ups and downs. But over time and with proper treatment, those with binge eating disorder can find a much more peaceful relationship with food, their bodies, and themselves.
But nothing changes until something changes! Help is available. http://www.crossroadsprogramsforwomen.com 800-348-0937
Bonnie Harken has been in the eating disorders treatment field since 1987. She was a founding officer of Remuda Ranch Centers serving as a Vice President until February 2002. Since February 2002 she has served as the Managing Director of The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Foundation (iaedp). She has also served many major eating disorders treatment facilities as a consultant. In 2013 she opened Crossroads Programs for Women in Pekin, IL.
Reference Sources for this article: Binge Eating Disorder Association, DSM-V, and Medical News Today.com
© Copyright 2014 by Crossroads Programs for Women, therapist in Peoria, Illinois. All rights reserved.