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From time to time you may eat more than you need, especially if you're really enjoying a meal or you're eating with friends and family. We also go through periods in life where we eat more - for example, during the Christmas/New Year festivities, while away on holidays or during winter. However, if you feel a lack of control over the amount you're eating in a short space of time (and this problem re-occurs), then you may be struggling with binge eating, binge eating disorder or a different type of eating disorder.
What are the signs and symptoms of binge eating or Binge Eating Disorder?
- Experiencing a lack of control over the amount of food consumed in a short period of time.
- Eating excessively, perhaps beyond and despite: your own sense of hunger, physical comfort and distressing emotions of guilt and disgust. You may eat at a fast pace, and choose to eat alone due to feeling embarrassed by the amount you’re eating.
- Feeling guilt and shame after binging; you may feel depressed in mood and intensely regret binging. You may make plans to “be good from now on” and attempt to diet the next day. However, dieting never works, and you find yourself binging again in a few days or weeks later.
- If you experience anorexia nervosa or bulimia, an episode of binging may lead to desperate attempts to compensate for binging – for example, you may engage in excessive exercise, purging (such as self-induced vomiting) or extreme dieting.
How does binge eating or Binge Eating Disorder affect me?
- Poor body image. You may experience intense body dissatisfaction or disgust towards your body.
- Weight fluctuations.
- Your mood may be impacted: You may experience guilt and shame; mistaking binging as a “bad habit” that shows weakness. Some people may suffer anxiety and/or depression as a result of their eating struggles or poor body image.
- Health implications. You may suffer from obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, or chronic heart issues. You may struggle to eat well and exercise, due to a perceived sense of “failing” that affects your motivation to look after yourself.
- Avoidance of foods that may “trigger” a binge. There may be certain foods that initiate a binge (e.g. chocolate, pizza, cake, etc), as such you may avoid these foods, or social gatherings that involve these foods.
- Low self-esteem. Body image issues, a lack of control over food and the shame/guilt experienced after binging, can affect your self-esteem. You may view yourself as a “failure” or “unloveable”.
- Shame associated with your body and eating struggles may cause you to avoid social events, or you may withdraw from friends and family.
How can I treat my binge eating or Binge Eating Disorder?
There are several well-researched treatments that are effective in treating Eating Disorders like Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder. Binge Eating Disorder in particular is best treated with Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT). Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Guided CBT Online, Psychoeducation and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) have also been proven to be effective in binge eating disorder treatment.
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?
We are a team of warm and experienced psychologists, who have a specialised interest in eating disorder treatment, including treatment of binge eating and binge eating disorder. Our psychologists are competent and experienced in eating disorder treatment, using mainly CBT-E for eating disorders (Cognitive-behavioural Therapy – Enhanced) and DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) for binge eating.
Peaceful Mind Psychology also offers group therapy for eating disorders and information sessions for carers and families. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.