Getting Help for Binge Eating Disorder

For some, food is a good source of comfort. We each have a go-to food for when we feel depressed or stressed out. We also have times when we help ourselves to more of our fair share of food – when we go out on a buffet, or during special occasions such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. However, for binge eaters, the compulsion to overeat is something that happens regularly.

What is Binge Eating?

Binge eating or compulsive overeating is when a person regularly gorges himself with food. Even as he does, he feels that he is powerless to resist the compulsion and cannot stop even when he is already full or already feels sick because of all the food ingested. There may be feelings of stress or disgust during the eating binge. By binge, it usually means eating rapidly without enjoying or tasting the food.

Binge eating is often a response to the pressure caused by going on a major diet. This disorder usually begins during one’s late teens or early adulthood. The binge episodes are characterized by feelings of distress (for not being able to control one’s urge to eat), disgust with one’s self, guilt and even depression.

Binge eating can be a vicious cycle – where a person is driven on an eating binge because of stress. As he binges, he gets some measure of comfort, but feels bad about it afterwards. These negative feelings (about his inability to stop himself from going on a binge coupled by low self-esteem and dissatisfaction about how one looks) can drive him into further bingeing episodes. It may also be rooted in the pressure from society to look a certain way (i.e. thin = sexy and attractive).

According to Utah counselors, there are indications that binge eating is rooted in physical abnormalities. The brain may not be able to release enough serotonin to deal with feelings of depression. Or, the brain does not send the necessary signal to tell the body that it is no longer hungry.

Those who suffer from binge eating disorder are obese, as there is usually no effort made towards ridding one’s self of the food ingested through vomiting or over-exercising (as the case is with bulimia). The symptoms may include:

– Feelings of being out of control. This includes self-disgust, guilt and embarrassment.
– Eating even when one is not hungry or when one is already full
– Eating normally in the presence of others but going on a binge when one is alone
– Having a secret food stash
– The binges are regular
– The binges may last for one or two hours or may go on sporadically throughout the day

Aside from obesity, there are a number of medical, social and emotional complications associated with binge eating. These include:

– A higher likelihood of suicide
– A higher likelihood to also abuse other substances such as prescription medicine, alcohol and drugs to cope with the depression and stress
– Physical problems such as diabetes, heart problems associated with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, gallbladder disease and sleep apnea.

Getting help for Binge Eating

Getting into a healthier relationship with food can be a struggle. If you or a loved one is suffering from binge eating, you may need to go for Utah counseling. If the binge eating disorder is also accompanied by substance abuse problems, you may also need to seek the services of a Utah substance abuse counselor.

Here are some things you can do to help you triumph over binge eating:

– Maintain a regular meal schedule. This should include 3 meals plus snacks, if necessary. Never skip meals, especially breakfast, since doing so will make you hungrier and have stronger food cravings. At this point, stop any diet you’re on. When you deprive yourself of food, you will actually crave for more.
– Don’t stock your cupboards with unhealthy food. Take away the temptation. If you don’t have ready access to food, it will be more difficult for you to yield to the temptation to go on an eating binge.
– Keep yourself busy. Sometimes, people eat not out of hunger but out of boredom. When all you do is watch TV or sit in front of the computer, it is easy to fall into binge eating. Keep yourself busy with activities such as planting a garden, learning a new craft, making a scrapbook or taking walks.
– Keep on moving! Get plenty of exercise. Exercise gives off feel-good substances that can help ward off any oncoming depression. As you feel good about yourself and your body, you are more able to resist eating on a binge.
– Keep a journal on your eating patterns. This will help you keep track of the amount and the kinds of food you eat. The journal will provide you with key information about how your eating is related with your mood.
– Get help. Getting into Provo counseling will help you get to the bottom of your binge eating (feelings of depression, fear and stress) and will keep you equipped with coping tools to manage your appetite. You should also get the support of friends and loved ones.
– Educate yourself. You should educate yourself about a well-balanced diet and losing weight the healthy way.

Utah therapists can do a lot towards fighting compulsions and getting equipped with healthy eating habits. Therapy can also help recognize the triggers for your binge eating and how to avoid them, as well as manage the stress that can contribute to binge eating.


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