Dont Try To Solve Your Loved Ones Problems
Fact: You cant fix someone elses eating disorder! It may be frustrating to realize that your loved one’s eating disorder is not something you can fix. So, this is my final advice for those of you who are concerned about someone who is binge eating: try not to fix their problem. This is a tough one, I know, especially for parents who have always been in the fix-it role. I always say to the friends and family members of patients, if you could fix your loved ones eating disorder, you would have already it just doesnt work that way!Another problem with trying to fix your loved ones eating disorder or offer advice is that it pushes you away from them and it may be perceived as judgmental. Also, for most of us, it is frustrating to give advice or offer a solution to a problem that ultimately will not be followed this can create resentment or anger on both sides. As family members or friends, we might want to fix other peoples problems in order to alleviate our own anxiety. Let the professionals take this one on.
How To Talk To Someone With Binge Eating Disorder
Figuring out the best way to help another person in recovery can be frustrating. Sometimes, even though we are desperate to help, our first instincts actually backfire on us! Heres an example: A natural urge when trying to help someone with a history of binge eating is to offer solutions. Perhaps you have some ideas on what has helped your friend in the past. Maybe you are thinking of suggesting a diet or exercise program. However, diets and exercise programs wont help those recovering from compulsive overeating. In fact, diets make binge eating behaviors worse! Dieting when you already have an eating disorder only exacerbates the eating disorder pathology making the eating disorder stronger. Another instinct that may backfire is this: well-meaning family members and friends often think, If I just encourage my loved one to try harder and have more willpower they could overcome this binge eating. Unfortunately, what some might call a lack of willpower doesnt have much to do with willpower at all binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder. When it comes to eating disorders, one cannot just use willpower to change their behaviors or habits. So, what can you do to support a loved one in recovery? Ill get to that below, but first, Id like to define binge eating disorder for those new to this topic.
Ways To Help A Friend With Binge Eating Disorder
You dont need to be a doctor to help someone with binge eating disorder. Receiving support from a friend can benefit the physical and mental health of someone with binge eating disorder. Encouragement can help to reduce their stress and cope with their symptoms.
You can help a friend with binge eating disorder by:
- Being patient with their symptoms and needs
- Avoiding disparaging remarks about their diet or appearance
- Asking if you can assist them in any way
- Setting aside private time to talk to them and rehearsing what you want to say to them
- Talking to them about their binge eating in a caring yet firm manner
- Listening to their frustrations
Binge eating disorder can cause your friend to act in uncharacteristic ways. Help them understand that their condition does not define them. You should also mention that they can control their symptoms with proper assistance.
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How Do We Treat Binge Eating
Here at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, we believe binge eating disorder requires a three-prong approach to treatment. To effectively treat this life-threatening illness, we address three fronts: medical, psychological and nutritional health.
Due to the medical complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiac illness its extremely important that patients be monitored by a primary care physician or physician specializing in clinical nutrition.
While its vital to treat any medical complications, the psychological aspects of the illness can be the most difficult to treat. In our LiveWell program specifically created to combat eating disorders we first seek to help our patients agree to change their eating disorder behaviors. This is a surprisingly challenging part of treatment! Thats why we use a technique called Motivational Interviewing to help our patients clarify the reasons they need to make changes in their lives.
Once patients agree to make some change, our clinicians can use a toolkit of other types of therapy. Every tool and technique we use is geared toward helping our patients change their thinking and, ultimately, their behavior.
Finally, by involving our dietician a specialist in eating disorders our patients get help developing a customized meal plan with normal intake, so that they wont need to binge. With guidance from our dietician, our patients can learn how to eat in a safe, healthful way for the rest of their lives.
International Classification Of Diseases
BED was first included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994 simply as a feature of eating disorder. In 2013 it gained formal recognition as a psychiatric condition in the DSM-5.
The 2017 update to the American version of the ICD-10 includes BED under F50.81.ICD-11 may contain a dedicated entry , defining BED as frequent, recurrent episodes of binge eating which are not regularly followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors aimed at preventing weight gain.
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Physiological Urges To Binge
When it comes to an energy deficit, our bodies are built to survive, and we will seek out anything that makes this possible. In terms of food, if someones body is in starvation mode due to a long period of restriction, or a period of only eating small amounts over several days, then their body will do whatever it can to get those calories into it, and usually this is through carbohydrates, fats and sugars.
Rigid dieting regimes trigger this physiological urge, and often results in eating the exact foods the individual has been trying to restrict! When this happens, the individual can feel as though they have failed and that they lack willpower, when it is really a physiological response that is uncontrollable.
Avoiding the urge to binge in response to a physiological deficit is about learning to eat regularly throughout the day. Once your body learns that it is not starving and will get fed at regular intervals, the urge to binge on large quantities of high fat, high calorie foods will naturally dissipate.
Make It Difficult For Yourself To Binge
If you can put a tangible obstacle between you and the possibility of binge eating, you can make it more difficult to succumb to the urge. The best alternative strategies are incompatible with eating or make eating difficult. Doing something with your hands is a good bet, as its tricky to binge and draw, paint your nails, or play with your pet.
Other ways to make it difficult for yourself to binge could be to:
- Take a long bath or shower to relax.
- Soak the binge food in water so that it is ruined.
- Flush the food you are planning to binge on down the toilet.
- If possible, make it so you are unable to plan a binge. For instance, if you live with someone, make sure they do not tell you when they will be coming home.
There are a myriad of alternative coping strategies out there, but the ones listed above are some that our clients have found useful:
The key point to all these activities is that by the time you have done them, the tide will have gone out and the wave of feelings will have passed.
Once you have made your list, put it somewhere you can find it quickly, like on the fridge, or a note on your phone. Then you know exactly where to look when the feelings strike.
Most importantly, if you dont manage to overcome the craving this time, remember that you havent failed. Maybe you havent found the right coping strategy quite yet, and thats ok. Trying to overcome it is the first step. There is always another time to try and each time you do, it will get easier.
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Cbt For Binge Eating Disorder
First-line treatment for binge eating disorder in adults is individual psychological therapy. Manual-based cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most researched psychotherapy for BED, and at present, the best-supported among all treatment options.
The most studied form of CBT for binge eating disorder was described in the book Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Binge Eating and Bulimia Nervosa: A Comprehensive Treatment Manual. The book was published in 1993 by Fairburn, Marcus, and Wilson and an update of that treatment, CBT-E, was published in 2008 by Fairburn.
According to an extensive review of the literature in 2015, there are also still too few studies to draw conclusions about which formats of CBT might be most effective.
In randomized control trials, CBT consistently shows that it can help many patients achieve abstinence from binge eating. In many cases where abstinence from bingeing is not achieved, it can help reduce both binge frequency and eating-related psychopathology . Greater improvements have been shown in therapist-led CBT than in therapies with less therapist involvement such as guided self-help.
Finally, CBT teaches clients strategies to prevent relapse. It is important to note that the goal of CBT is behavior change, not weight lossCBT for binge eating disorder do not necessarily lead to weight loss.
Restricting Food Or Dieting
- Making excuses to avoid meals or situations involving food
- Eating only tiny portions or specific low-calorie foods, and often banning entire categories of food such as carbs and dietary fat
- Obsessively counting calories, reading food labels, and weighing portions
- Developing restrictive food rituals such as eating foods in certain orders, rearranging food on a plate, excessive cutting or chewing.
- Taking diet pills, prescription stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, or even illegal drugs such as amphetamines
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Learn About The Disease
It’s important to understand what causes eating disorders and how they affect lives, Natenshon says. And to know that they can be cured.
Information can come from many sources. If you donât know much, read up on the disorder. You can start online or check with a group like the National Eating Disorders Association, where Kronengold is a spokeswoman.
If youâre a parent or caregiver, you can turn to your loved oneâs health care team for information and advice. Did the doctor suggest treatment? Which type do they need? Learn the difference between outpatient therapy and inpatient therapy.
Some Of The More Common Signs Of Binge Eating Disorder Are:
If someone is developing binge eating disorder, often changes in behaviour are noticeable before changes to physical appearance. Signs include:
- Buying lots of food
- Organising life around bingeing episodes
- Hoarding food
- Compromise of education and employment plans
Binge eating disorder is a mental illness, and you might notice changes in the way you or someone you know feels before physical symptoms become obvious. Psychological signs include:
- Spending a lot or most of their time thinking about food
- A sense of being out of control around food, or a loss of control over eating
- Feeling anxious and tense, especially over eating in front of others
- Low confidence and self-esteem
- Feelings of shame and guilt after bingeing
- Other mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety
There are several physical consequences associated with binge eating disorder:
- Poor skin condition
Like any eating disorder, binge eating disorder can have long-term physical effects, some of which may be permanent. These include:
- Damage to the oesophagus and stomach
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Why Do Some People Binge Eat
Experts dont know the exact cause of binge eating disorder. Its likely a combination of things, including genetics, family eating habits, emotions, and eating behavior, like skipping meals. Some people use food as a way to soothe themselves or to cope with difficult feelings.
How Is Binge Eating Disorder Diagnosed
If a doctor thinks a child or teen might have a binge eating disorder, they’ll ask lots of questions about their medical history and dietary habits. The doctor will also ask about the family history, family eating patterns, and emotional issues.
To diagnose binge eating disorder, doctors and mental health professionals look for signs such as:
- eating more food than most people eat in a set period of time
- a sense of lack of control over eating
- binge eating, on average, at least once a week for at least 3 months
- binge eating associated with:
- eating faster than most people
- eating until uncomfortably full
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Strategy : 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.
Learn To Tolerate The Feelings That Trigger Your Binge Eating
The next time you feel the urge to binge, instead of giving in, take a moment to stop and investigate whats going on inside.
Identify the emotion youre feeling. Do your best to name what youre feeling. Is it anxiety? Shame? Hopelessness? Anger? Loneliness? Fear? Emptiness?
Accept the experience youre having. Avoidance and resistance only make negative emotions stronger. Instead, try to accept what youre feeling without judging it or yourself.
Dig deeper. Explore whats going on. Where do you feel the emotion in your body? What kinds of thoughts are going through your head?
Distance yourself. Realize that you are NOT your feelings. Emotions are passing events, like clouds moving across the sky. They dont define who you are.
Sitting with your feelings may feel extremely uncomfortable at first. Maybe even impossible. But as you resist the urge to binge, youll start to realize that you dont have to give in. There are other ways to cope. Even emotions that feel intolerable are only temporary. Theyll quickly pass if you stop fighting them. Youre still in control. You can choose how to respond.
For a step-by-step guide to learning how to manage unpleasant and uncomfortable emotions, check out HelpGuides free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit.
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Understanding Your Loved Ones Eating Disorder
Eating disorders involve extreme disturbances in eating behaviorsfollowing rigid diets, bingeing on food in secret, throwing up after meals, obsessively counting calories. Its not easy to watch someone you care about damage their healthespecially when the solution appears, at least on the outside, to be simple. But eating disorders are more complicated than just unhealthy dietary habits. At their core, theyre attempts to deal with emotional issues and involve distorted, self-critical attitudes about weight, food, and body image. Its these negative thoughts and feelings that fuel the damaging behaviors.
People with eating disorders use food to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions. Restricting food is used to feel in control. Overeating temporarily soothes sadness, anger, or loneliness. Purging is used to combat feelings of helplessness and self-loathing. Over time, people with an eating disorder lose the ability to see themselves objectively and obsessions over food and weight come to dominate everything else in their lives. Their road to recovery begins by identifying the underlying issues that drive their eating disorder and finding healthier ways to cope with emotional pain.
While you cant force a person with an eating disorder to change, you can offer your support and encourage treatment. And that can make a huge difference to your loved ones recovery.
Strategy : Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals is another factor that can exacerbate binge eating. Similar to restricting your calories through a diet, skipping meals can leave you wanting to eat more later and increase your likelihood to binge eat.
Incorporating a regular eating pattern into your routine has been shown to reduce the chances of binge eating later on in the day. If you start skipping meals, youll begin to crave more. By skipping daytime meals and restricting calories, many people find themselves binge eating late into the night.
Breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and provides you with energy for the rest of the day. Consider eating a high-protein meal in the morning so that youll be less likely to become hungry. Eggs, almonds, chicken breast, oats, and Greek yogurt are examples of high-protein foods.
Try to eat three meals a day, with snacks in between, about three to four hours apart.
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Warning Signs Of An Eating Disorder
Many people worry about their weight, what they eat, and how they look. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults, who face extra pressure to fit in and look attractive at a time when their bodies are changing. As a result, it can be challenging to tell the difference between an eating disorder and normal self-consciousness, weight concerns, or dieting. Further complicating matters, people with an eating disorder will often go to great lengths to hide the problem. However, there are warning signs you can watch for. And as eating disorders progress, the red flags become easier to spot.
Types Of Eating Disorders
The most common eating disorders are:
Anorexia. People with anorexia starve themselves out of an intense fear of becoming fat. Despite being underweight or even emaciated, they never believe theyre thin enough. In addition to restricting calories, people with anorexia may also control their weight with exercise, diet pills, or purging.
Bulimia. Bulimia involves a destructive cycle of bingeing and purging. Following an episode of out-of-control binge eating, people with bulimia take drastic steps to purge themselves of the extra calories. In order to avoid weight gain they vomit, exercise to excess, fast, or take laxatives.
Binge Eating Disorder. People with binge eating disorder compulsively overeat, rapidly consuming thousands of calories in a short period of time. Despite feelings of guilt and shame over these secret binges, they feel unable to control their behavior or stop eating even when uncomfortably full.
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