We all overeat once in a while, especially during holidays and celebrations. These situations, however, are occasional, and usually occur in a social context. Binge or compulsive eating is different. It usually occurs when a person is alone and involves consuming a large quantity of food very rapidly, often eating until feeling physically uncomfortable. This eating episode is typically followed by intense feelings of shame.
Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
The compulsive consumption of large amounts of food is a recognized disorder called Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Symptoms of BED include:
- Recurrent episodes of eating much more rapidly than normal
- Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
- Eating large amounts of food when not hungry
- Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed about how much food is being consumed
- Feeling guilty and/or depressed after overeating
In order to be considered a formal eating disorder, these episodes must occur (on average) at least once a week for three months.
Binge Eating Disorder is not unique to one gender, and occurs in both men and women.
What causes binge eating?
People typically engage in compulsive overeating in an attempt to cope with emotional distress, which may be caused by trauma, depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem, just to name just a few. Other times binge episodes may follow periods of intensely restrictive eating or “yo-yo dieting.” Overeating serves as a distraction and a temporary way to manage negative feelings. However, the relief is only temporary, as soon after, guilt and despair set in and the cycle is repeated.
Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder
Both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are effective in treating Binge Eating Disorder. CBT teaches healthier ways of reacting to stressful situations by taking control of one’s thoughts, and DBT teaches a way of coping with stress through emotional regulation, mindfulness, and distress tolerance skills.
With the support of a licensed psychologist or therapist, you can start creating a healthier relationship with food today!
Reach out today
If you would like to learn more, please call Dr. Hauke’s office or fill out the contact form and click Send. It’s time to take control of your life and finally feel good about who you are! Dr. Farrah Hauke, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona. She provides coaching, counseling, and evaluation services to adolescents (12 and older) and adults of all ages.Please like and share this post!