October 1, 2021

Do You Have Binge Eating Disorder? (Know the Signs)

By Ilisa Kaufman, Psy.D.

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Binge eating disorder is a condition where the sufferer consumes a large amount of food and feels unable to stop eating. The person typically feels out of control when consuming the food and feels guilty once the binge is over.

We have all overate at one point or another. Typically, holiday meals or special events where you have seconds or thirds. However, for some, this overeating occurs frequently. Sometimes, occurring every day, several times throughout the day. When a person is struggling with binge eating disorder, they may feel embarrassed, and try to control the behavior on their own. Many times, they fail because the compulsive urges to binge become very strong, making it difficult to resist the behaviors.

This disordered eating pattern results in consequences, which begin to impair the sufferers functioning in the world. The most visual and obvious could be weight gain. Most times, the person with binge eating disorder is overweight or obese. This extra weight may interfere with the sufferer’s lifestyle. The sufferer might not be able to engage in certain physical activities they enjoy; perhaps, the extra pounds may negatively impact their social interactions, especially if they feel self-conscious about the extra weight. Furthermore, the time and energy they spend on the binges may begin to take away from the time they could be spending toward other meaningful and/or productive activities.

Treatment for binge eating disorder usually involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help the client identify the triggers that typically lead to a binge eating episode and the feeling associated with food and the binges. The goals of behavioral therapy involve helping the client develop better eating habits by identifying and changing faulty coping behaviors.

RIP-R therapy can be a helpful treatment option with this population. A RIP-R therapist will help a client build the motivation or drive, needed to create the inspiration to resist a binge eating episode. Additionally, the 10 interruption strategies may be practiced and applied when a sufferer needs to avoid engaging in the compulsive eating behavior. Lastly, the replacement phase will help the sufferer discover new and productive behaviors to engage in, rather than eating.

Those who recover from binge eating disorder, usually make a lot of behavioral changes within their home. For example, they begin drinking more water throughout the day, they become more active, they do not bring processed and sugary foods into their home, and they develop better eating behaviors at restaurants (like no eating bread before their meal). Some sufferers find support groups very helpful. They feel comfortable talking about their struggles with others who are also struggling.

If you or a loved one is suffering from binge eating disorder, the best time to get help is now. There is hope and a way to resist the compulsive overeating.

Here are some tips to get you started on your recovery journey

First, schedule an appointment with your general physician. A thorough physical exam can help establish a baseline of where you are starting from. This exam is sometimes avoided by the sufferer due to feelings of shame and fear about facing the consequences created from the disordered eating.

Second, clean out your refrigerator and pantry; throw away all processed and sugary foods.

Third, fill your refrigerator and pantry with a lot of healthy, whole foods.

Fourth, find a support group that you can attend and find a qualified CBT therapist.

Keep in mind, many people have recovered from binge eating disorder, and so can you.


Ilisa Kaufman, Psy.D.

Ilisa Kaufman, Psy.D, is a licensed clinical Psychologist, who practices in Miami, Florida. She specializes in the treatment of OCD, addictions, and OC related disorders. After having struggled with severe OCD herself, Dr. Kaufman created a modified version of Exposure and Response therapy; which she calls RIP-R therapy. She used this therapy to get herself into recovery from OCD, and is now on a mission to help other sufferers. Dr. Kaufman has been treating OCD for 10 years now and has appeared on a multitude of media platforms discussing her treatment.


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