Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
At some point, all of us have overindulged in food, helped ourselves to dessert even though we were full or opened up the snacks because we felt bored – but what is the difference between this and binge eating disorder? Binge eating disorder (BED), also known as compulsive overeating, is a behavioural addiction that is characterised by the uncontrollable consumption of large amounts of food that is then followed by intense feelings of guilt and shame. Unfortunately one in fifty people experience binge eating disorder in the UK, 40% of which are male.
If you are ready to step out of the prison of BED and get the help you need, Banbury Lodge can support you. Our team has helped many people just like you overcome issues with food and start enjoying life again.
Do I have binge eating disorder?
Realising you have a problem with binge eating is the first step in recovering and is vital if you want to change your eating habits. Although it can be difficult to open up and admit you need help, finding the strength to talk will automatically feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
Take a moment to answer the following questions to find out if you may have BED:
- Do you engage in regular binge eating sessions where you eat more than considered normal?
- Do you find yourself unable to control the amount of food you consume?
- Do you continue to eat even though you are full?
- Do you consume food very quickly?
- Do you often eat alone or try to hide how much you have eaten?
- Do you feel embarrassed or ashamed about eating?
- Do you try to skip meals or fast, only to binge later?
- Do you hoard food or try to hide food around the house?
If you can relate to any of these questions, reaching out to a treatment centre could turn your life around.
Binge eating vs overeating
Most people have experienced episodes of overeating – maybe you have treated yourself to dessert after dinner or perhaps you have overindulged during special occasions, even though you already felt full. While overeating may make us feel uncomfortable for a short while, and sometimes even guilty, it is not classified as binge eating.
Binge eating specifically refers to a total loss of control over the amount of food you consume. These episodes are like compulsions that take over the mind and body. Even though you may want to stop, you are unable to. This loss of control is what makes the disorder so distressing for anyone suffering.
What causes binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder can be triggered by a combination of environmental, psychological and genetic circumstances. Sometimes it is easy to pinpoint the cause of BED, but more often than not it is a complex blend of many different factors.
Some contributing factors to binge eating disorder may include:
- Close family members also suffering from an eating disorder
- Experiencing a stressful or traumatic event
- Inability to cope with negative emotions or mental health issues
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem
- Previously engaging in a strict or restrictive diet
More often than not, food is used as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and even boredom. It is therefore important to address these issues in an all-encompassing treatment programme designed specifically for BED and co-occurring mental health issues.
What are the side effects of binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder can affect every single aspect of your life, from your health and behaviour to relationships and finances.
Some of the physical side effects of binge eating disorder include:
- Weight gain and obesity
- Sleep issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Risk of type 2 diabetes
- Risk of heart attack
Some of the psychological side effects of binge eating disorder include:
- A preoccupation with food
- Losing control around food or feeling out of body when bingeing
- Experiencing anxiety about eating in front of people
- Low self-worth and self-esteem
- Mental health issues including depression
Some of the behavioural side effects of binge eating disorder include:
- Buying and hoarding lots of food
- Planning everyday life around binge eating sessions
- Isolation from others
- Mood swings and irritability
- Allowing food to take precedence over other responsibilities
Binge eating and co-morbidity
Research has shown that nearly 80% of those with binge eating disorder also suffer from at least one other mental health issue. This includes:
- Anxiety disorders (65.1%)
- Mood disorders (46.4%)
- Impulse control disorders (43.3%)
- Substance use disorders (23.3%)
This evidence highlights the importance of a well-rounded treatment programme that is equipped to deal with any mental health issues alongside the eating disorder itself.
How to help a loved one with binge eating disorder
Approaching a loved one about the sensitive topic of binge eating can feel incredibly daunting. To ensure a productive and positive conversation, you should remain empathetic, patient and non-judgmental. Scare tactics or threats may not prove effective – in fact, they may work to push your family member further away. Avoid pressuring or forcing help on them, making them feel guilty for their condition and talking about dieting or weight loss. Instead, focus on providing understanding and unconditional acceptance and work to establish healthy communication about binge eating disorder.
If you are feeling particularly nervous about opening up a conversation with your loved one, it is a good idea to plan ahead, rehearse what you want to say or write everything down in a letter. Pick the right time and place to ensure you aren’t rushed or interrupted.
It helps to do your research on BED and its treatment so that you can try to encourage your loved one to get the help they need. Reassure the person that they are not alone and that they are worthy of finding happiness and freedom from binge eating disorder.
Treatment for binge eating disorder
Treatment for binge eating disorder is a multi-disciplinary process that typically involves several different therapy types. At Banbury Lodge, you will take part in both individual and group therapy sessions, including:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
- Family therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Art therapy
- Sound therapy
- Mindfulness and meditation
Our aim is to address the reasons for your binge eating, uncover your triggers and develop healthier coping mechanisms for you to take forward. We will also support you as you build relationships with family members and learn how to communicate in more productive ways.
It has been proven that the earlier you seek treatment, the easier it will be to change unhealthy patterns of behaviour. You do not have to suffer alone – there is no shame in seeking treatment for binge eating disorder.
By completing rehab treatment for binge eating disorder you will benefit from:
- Improved physical health
- A healthy relationship with food
- Reduced mental health issues
- Boosted confidence and self-esteem
- Ability to cope with stress and negative emotions
- Significant improvement in quality of life
If you are tired of binge eating disorder dominating your life and are ready to benefit from a professional treatment programme, don’t hesitate to get in touch.