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How To Get Help With Binge Eating Disorder

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How To Help Someone With Binge Eating Disorder

Since binge eaters often try to hide their symptoms and eat in secret, it can make it tough for family and friends to spot the warning signs. And you cant always identify a binge eater by appearance, either. While some are overweight or obese, others manage to maintain a normal weight.

The warning signs that you can spot include finding piles of empty food packages and wrappers, cupboards and refrigerators that have been cleaned out, or hidden stashes of high-calorie or junk food. If you suspect that your loved one has binge eating disorder, bring up your concerns. It may seem daunting to start such a delicate conversation, and the person may deny bingeing or become angry and defensive. But theres a chance that he or she will welcome the opportunity to share the struggle.

If the person shuts you out at first, dont give up; it may take some time before your loved one is willing to admit to having a problem. And remember: as difficult as it is to know that someone you love may be have an eating disorder, you cant force someone to change. The decision to seek recovery has to come from them. You can help by offering your compassion, encouragement, and support throughout the treatment process.

Webinar: Understanding The Facts About Binge Eating Disorder

Presented by: Allan S Kaplan MD MSc FRCP is currently a Senior Clinician/Scientist, Chief of Research at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and Vice-Chair for Research and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. He is also Director of the Institute of Medical Science, School of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Medicine. He was the inaugural Loretta Anne Rogers Chair in Eating Disorders at Toronto General Hospital and is currently Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute. He received his medical, psychiatric, and graduate school training at the University of Toronto. He has worked in the field of eating disorders for 30 years, has lectured widely on various topics in the field, published 150 peer-reviewed articles, two books, 50 book chapters, and over 200 abstracts. He is the Past President of both the Academy for Eating Disorders, the largest organization of eating disorder professionals in the world and the International Eating Disorder Research Society. He has been a continuously funded peer-reviewed investigator since 1992 and has received grant support from the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in Canada.

There are also three types of therapy that can be especially helpful in the treatment of BED. These therapies are:

A Weird But Systematic Way To Stop Overeating And Binge Eating

If I said I could show you how to permanently stop binge eating and overeating today if you wanted to, would you think I was crazy? Many people would, especially if they’ve been struggling for a lifetime. Some even report feeling compelled to binge, as if someone were pointing a gun at their head saying “keep eating or I’ll shoot!” Others feel they ‘need’ their junk, not so much for pleasure, but just to feel normal. I know this pain all too well…Not only from my 27 years of experience as a psychologist, author of a popular weight loss book, and a consultant to the food industrybut from personal history as well. I’ll spare you the full story, but let’s just say theres probably nothing you’ve done with food I haven’t done myself…

  • Eating out of the garbage…
  • Stealing my roommate’s food without telling him…
  • Driving to multiple fast food restaurants just so no one person would know how much I was eating…
  • Eating off the floor…
  • And repeatedly stuffing myself way past the point of physical pain.

STEP ONE: Understand and Confront the Forces and Myths in Our Culture That Keep People Fat.

There’s some very interesting research which may shed light on the impact. Mammalian studies which bypass the normal pleasure apparatus show an abandonment of survival needs to self-stimulate via artificial means…

STEP TWO: Make At Least One Clear Food Rule.

STEP THREE: Separate Your Constructive vs. Destructive Thoughts About Food

How to Stop Binge Eating at Night


Binge Eating Disorder: When Comfort Eating Crosses The Line

Eating for comfort or emotional reasons is not necessarily a bad thing. That is as long as the food does not become the main source of comfort or method for dealing with lifes stress and challenges. Using food to consistently soothe emotional upheaval can quickly become Binge Eating Disorder, and this can result in some serious health consequences.

Step 4: Accept Your Situation By Meditation

Binge Eating Disorder: Self Help Binge Eating Guide to ...

Ever considered meditating your way through a bad mood?

If so, fantastic meditation can be a powerful tool to help you deal with the sudden stressors and anxieties that we encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Meditation forces you to sit back, relax, and better recognize, accept and embrace the inner workings of your mind.

In other words, it prevents you from impulsively resorting to a binge whenever something stressful is going on or when something doesnt go according to plan.

So whenever you notice a sudden shift in mood states, feel an overwhelming sense of stress, or take a hit to your self-esteem, try to resort to a small session of meditation.

There are so many excellent meditation out there, freely available for you to download.

Do this meditation session either before or after youve problem solved your way through these negative experiences.

It will keep you grounded and, with enough practice, prevent the urge to binge.

Symptoms And Treatment Of Binge Eating Disorder

The main sign of binge eating disorder is if someone is bingeing on a regular basis. There are a number of signs that an episode of overeating is actually a binge, including:

  • you eat much faster than normal
  • you eat until you feel uncomfortably full
  • you eat a large amount of food when you are not hungry
  • you eat alone or secretly due to being embarrassed about the amount of food you are consuming
  • you have feelings of guilt, shame or disgust afterwards

If you feel like you have to purge what youve eaten after a binge in order to avoid gaining weight, you may have symptoms of .

If binges dont happen regularly, and your weight is very low, you may have symptoms of .

What If My Gp Isnt Familiar With Binge Eating Disorder Or Doesnt Feel That Its As Serious As Other Eating Disorders

Like all other eating disorders, binge eating disorder is a serious mental illness, and should be treated as such. People with binge eating disorder need and deserve treatment and support. Binge eating disorder has a clear, evidence-based treatment pathway recommended by NICE.

The NICE guidance that People with eating disorders should be assessed and receive treatment at the earliest opportunity applies in all cases. The earlier you can get treatment for your illness, the better your chance of recovery.

Do Not Confuse Thirst And Hunger

When feelings of hunger arise, people should try drinking a glass of water first. If the feelings subside, this suggests that they were actually thirsty.

However, if the person still feels hungry, they should follow the glass of water with a balanced meal or snack. indicates that drinking 500 milliliters of water before a meal reduces the number of calories that a person then eats by 13%.

It is also a good idea for overall health to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

A person can determine whether they are drinking enough by checking the color of their urine. Clear to light yellow indicates a good level of hydration.

Sleep plays a vital role in regulating hunger and appetite. A lack of sleep can increase feelings of stress and low mood, which may trigger binge eating.

Research has shown that a lack of sleep can contribute to by:

  • increasing food intake
  • decreasing the energy that a person uses throughout the day
  • affecting the hormones that regulate appetite

Experts recommend that people aim to sleep for at least

This Is Our Approach To Stopping Binge Eating

Higher-weight individuals with binge eating disorder often tell us that they want to admit to a program with a clear weight-loss strategy; they say they are looking for programs that have weight loss as a goal.Our internationally-recognized binge eating disorder treatment experts believe that the more effective way to help patients struggling with BED is by focusing first on remedying the disordered eating, finding solutions to the overeating, and addressing any underlying issues. Through this approach, weight loss may occur.The Eating Recovery Center is the nation’s only health care system dedicated to the treatment of binge eating disorders at all levels of care. The binge eating treatment center includes inpatient treatment, residential treatment, partial hospitalization treatment and intensive outpatient treatment.Our innovative recovery program is designed to meet the needs of diverse patients struggling with binge eating. For binge eating help, please call us at 877-825-8584.

How Can I Help A Loved One

Supporting a loved one who experiences an eating disorder can be very challenging. Many people feel upset or even frightened by their loved ones beliefs, behaviours, or state of well-being. An approach that focuses on support and understanding rather than control is best. Here are some tips to help you support a loved one:

  • Remember that eating disorders are a sign of much bigger problems. Avoid focusing on food or eating habits alone.
  • Be mindful of your own attitudes and behaviours around food and body image.
  • Never force someone to change their eating habits or trick someone into changing.
  • Avoid reacting to a loved ones body image talk or trying to reason with statements that seem unrealistic to you.
  • If your loved one is an adult, remember that supporting help-seeking is a balance between your own concerns and their right to privacy.
  • If your loved ones experiences are affecting other family members, family counselling may be helpful
  • Dont be afraid to set boundaries and seek support for yourself.

What To Think About

Medicines and counselling may help you quit binge eating and lose excess weight. But this will take some time and patience. Some people find that they still have trouble losing excess weight, even after they stop binge eating. Talk to your doctor about what results are realistic to expect from treatment.

Unfortunately, many people don’t seek treatment for mental health problems. You may not seek treatment because you are embarrassed about your eating, you think the symptoms are not bad enough, or that you can work things out on your own. But getting treatment is important.

If you need help deciding whether to see your doctor, read about some reasons why people don’t get help and how to overcome them.

Can People Be Addicted To Food

In recent years, food addiction has become a popular idea among some scientists. Those researchers say that certain foods high in fat, sugar, and salt are addictive, causing changes in the similar to those made by drugs. Studies in animals have shown that rats that binge on sugar, for example, can develop signs of dependency.

But the idea of food addiction is controversial. For one thing, the standard treatment for addiction is abstinence, and thatâs not possible with food. Also, âdieting is a very strong component of the binge eating cycle,â May says. âFrom that standpoint, itâs counterproductive to label certain foods as negative.â

Thereâs no doubt that eating can stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals in the , Hudnall says. âBut that doesnât make food an addictive substance. Thereâs evidence that itâs actually the behavior — the restrict/binge cycle — that causes the signs of dependency, not the food itself,â she says. Some researchers have even stated that the term âeating addictionâ is a more accurate term than âfood addiction.â

Strategy 5: Exercise And Relax

How to stop binge eating disorder, Stop overeating ...

Stress can trigger binge eating, and exercising often reduces stress levels. A small study showed that aerobic activity significantly reduces binge eating episodes in the long term. Simply taking a 30-minute walk, riding your bike, dancing, or swimming can help prevent binge eating. 

Yoga is another type of exercise that has been shown to reduce binge eating. In addition to exercise, practicing mindfulness, participating in breathing exercises, and enhancing your mind-body connection can promote relaxation and reduce stress eating.

Sleep also affects hunger and appetite, and it has been suggested that BED may be linked to insomnia. Try and get at least eight hours of sleep a night to reduce the risk of late-night binge eating. Doing a nighttime yoga routine can help relax the mind and body for sleep as well.

Kids Binge Eating And The Rise In Obesity In American Children

The response to this epidemic has sent many mixed messages to families, who may feel unsure about how to handle their growing children. Could a country that is hyper-focused on obesity in our youth, in combination with a culture that is saturated with a disillusioned media, be leading to a rise in eating disorders in younger generations?

How Bed Affects Your Health And Well

BED stems from, and can cause, a variety of emotional, physical, and psychological issues. You may ultimately experience physical complications such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Feeling bad about yourself or your life
  • Poor quality of life
  • Problems functioning at work, in your personal life, or while socializing
  • Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse disorder

Binge Eating Disorder Symptoms

There are many ways that binge eating disorder can impact a person’s life. Often binge eating disorder can cause weight gain, and in terms of physical health, it is associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. People may also find that their mood is impacted; binge eating disorder is linked to low self-esteem and lack of confidence, depression and anxiety. As with other eating disorders, its likely to be changes in behaviour and feelings that those around them notice first, before any physical symptoms become noticeable.

While binge eating disorder can affect anyone, the condition tends to be more common in adults than in younger people, often starting in someones 20s or older. It may develop from or into another eating disorder.

A potential effect of binge eating disorder is that the person will become overweight or obese. Obesity is linked to serious physical health risks, and can affect multiple areas of an individuals life. It is important to keep in mind that the diagnosis of binge eating disorder is not limited to overweight individuals; it is possible to suffer from binge eating disorder and be within the healthy weight range.

Although not an eating disorder, Beat are passionate about ensuring that the complexity of obesity is understood. Beat have addressed campaigns aimed at weight loss and language used in relation to obesity in our campaign: Public Health, Not Public Shaming.

Binge Eating Disorder Risk Factors

1. Dieting

Dieting more generally increases the risk of binging because of the effect of food restriction on the body and the brain .

On a physiological level, it is normal for a person who has been restricted from nutrients to binge eat because of ongoing physical hunger. It is a protective response beyond our control.

The body cannot interpret what kind of diet a person is on, how long they will be on it or why they are dieting it only interprets that the body is being restricted of food and is at risk of starvation. This message can trigger a survival response to seek and hold nutrients.

During this survival response, the bodys metabolism slows, fullness signals can be suppressed or difficult to interpret, and a persons thoughts and attention are directed towards food. People often describe these thoughts and attention towards food as intrusive, or that they cant stop thinking about food.

This survival response can initiate a drive to overeat, in an attempt to protect the body from further restriction of nutrients. It is common to be drawn towards off limits foods like cakes, pizza, pasta, sweets or chips as these offer a rapid refuel of energy.

On a psychological level, it is normal for people who go on rigid diets to break the rules at some point. Once the diet has been broken, feelings of failure and self-blame can come in, leading to all or nothing/black and white thinking and binging on all the foods youve been avoiding.

2. Food insecurity

3. Unmet needs

Tip 2: Find Better Ways To Feed Your Feelings

One of the most common reasons for binge eating is an attempt to manage unpleasant emotions such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety. When you have a bad day, it can seem like food is your only friend. Binge eating can temporarily make feelings such as stress, sadness, anxiety, depression, and boredom evaporate into thin air. But the relief is very fleeting.

Strategy 3: Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated has many benefits, but it can also help curb unwanted cravings and reduce overeating. In one study, 24 adults who drank 17 ounces before eating consumed fewer calories than people who did not drink water before a meal.

Water can also boost metabolism and may contribute to weight loss.

Step Three: Dont Worry About Your Weight

Though your therapist or doctor will probably tell you this, itâs worth repeating: Donât focus on your weight or go on a diet. Doing so raises the chances that youâll binge. Thatâs because cutting back on calories or avoiding certain foods makes you feel deprived. Those feelings might make you want to overeat.

What Are The Symptoms Of Binge

Where To Find Binge Eating Disorder Help

People with binge-eating disorder might:

  • eat large amounts of food in a short period of time
  • feel out of control when they eat
  • eat rapidly during a binge
  • eat when they are not hungry
  • eat to the point of discomfort
  • eat as a way to cope with emotional distress
  • hoard food

People with binge-eating disorder are distressed by their eating behaviour and might feel:

  • ashamed
  • guilty after an eating binge
  • embarrassed by their actions

They might also withdraw from their usual activities and from family and friends.

People with binge-eating disorder can also experience physical symptoms, such as:

  • stomach cramps
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating

Binge-eating disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa in that people with both disorders are concerned about body image and consume large amounts of food.

However, unlike bulimia nervosa, people with binge-eating disorder do not take extreme steps to lose weight every time they binge . As a result, their weight might fluctuate, or they might be overweight or .

Binge Eating Disorder And Family Patterns Of Self

The factors that influence the development of binge eating disorder are complex and involve genetics , the environment of both your past and present, the social conditions you are exposed to, and much more. One aspect that that can also be influential in the development of BED is the nature of a family setting and the way in which children are taught to soothe themselves and cope with their emotions.

How To Find Treatment

The Binge Eating Disorder Association maintains an online directory of member providers. Furthermore, some eating disorder specialists have experience in treating BED. It may be helpful to find a therapist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Many CBT therapists work with disordered eating behaviors even though they may not specifically list BED. If you are unable to find a local specialist, you may want to consider self-help or guided self-help.

Treatment And Counselling For Binge Eating Disorder

Cognitive behavioural therapy for binge eating disorder

CBT is a widely-used therapeutic technique, which has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of a wide variety of mental health conditions and eating disorders, including binge eating disorder .

CBT is based on the principle that eating disorders and destructive behaviours arise and are exacerbated as a result of deep-rooted, negative thought patterns.

In the context of binge eating, these negative beliefs and thought processes can prevent individuals from making healthy choices about eating habits, food, and diet, and can cause a lack of self-belief in your ability to recover from your eating disorder.

As such the purpose of CBT is to challenge and change these dysfunctional thought patterns, in order to resolve the resulting negative behaviour.

Specialist eating disorder interventions

Our highly trained eating disorder experts are also able to deliver a range of specialist interventions that have been specifically designed to treat individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder, including binge eating disorder . These include:

  • Dietetic input
  • Food exposure interventions
  • Body image workshops

At Priory, we are also able to prescribe specific antidepressant medication which can help to treat any co-occurring mental health conditions such as .

What Is The Difference Between Bed And Bulimia

is characterized by overeating and purging, or trying to compensate for consuming too many calories by vomiting, using laxatives or overexercising. If you have BED, you dont routinely use any of these methods to try to undo any weight gain you might experience from overeating. But even though it is uncommon, you can have BED and not be overweight, thanks to your individual genetic makeup or a particularly fast metabolism.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eaters usually are unhappy about their weight and many feel .

Someone who’s binge eating also might:

  • eat a lot of food quickly
  • hide food containers or wrappers in their room
  • have big changes in their weight
  • skip meals, eat at unusual times , and eat alone
  • have a history of eating in response to emotional stress

People who binge might have feelings that are common in many eating disorders, such as depression, anxiety, guilt, or shame. They may avoid school, work, or socializing with friends because they’re ashamed of their binge eating problem or changes in their body shape and weight.

When kids or teen binge eat, parents may first suspect a problem when large amounts of food go missing from the pantry or refrigerator.

Binge eating is different from bulimia, another eating disorder. People with bulimia binge eat, but try to make up for overeating by throwing up, using laxatives, or to lose weight.

Step Two: Begin Treatment

Talk to your doctors and therapists about the type of treatment that would be best for you. There are several treatment options.

  • Outpatient treatmentinvolves regular therapy sessions for a few months. You do not need to stay overnight at a hospital or medical center. Experts usually recommend starting with this type of care. Most people with binge eating disorder do well with this therapy alone.
  •  , are sometimes prescribed along with therapy. They may include stimulants, , or anti- drugs. The ADHD stimulant medication lisdexamfetamine dimesylate  has proven effective in decreasing the desire to binge.
  • Inpatient treatmentis round-the-clock care at a hospital or medical center. This might be needed if you have other serious health problems that are related to your binge eating disorder, like severe depression or suicidal thoughts.


Supporting A Loved Ones Recovery

Recovering from an eating disorder takes time. There are no quick fixes or miracle cures, so its important to have patience and compassion. Dont put unnecessary pressure on your loved one by setting unrealistic goals or demanding progress on your own timetable. Provide hope and encouragement, praise each small step forward, and stay positive through struggles and setbacks.

Learn about eating disorders. The more you know, the better equipped youll be to help your loved one, avoid pitfalls, and cope with challenges.

Listen without judgment. Show that you care by asking about your loved ones feelings and concernsand then truly listening. Resist the urge to advise or criticize. Simply let your friend or family member know that theyre being heard. Even if you dont understand what theyre going through, its important to validate your loved ones feelings.

Be mindful of triggers. Avoid discussions about food, weight, eating or making negative statements about your own body. But dont be afraid to eat normally in front of someone with an eating disorder. It can help set an example of a healthy relationship with food.

Get more help

Almost Anorexic Is My Relationship with Food a Problem?

The Parent Toolkit   Advice for parents of children with eating disorders.

Eating Disorders Causes, effects, warning signs, and treatment of eating disorders in kids and teens.

Tips on eating disorder treatment.

Hotlines and support

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