What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Do you struggle with an eating behavior that seems out of control? Do you ever eat large amounts of foods and cannot stop until you feel sick? Do you sometimes zone out by eating a lot only to feel guilty afterwards? Do you feel like eating is not something within your control? Do you try to restrict what you eat only to find yourself at the other extreme binging on foods? When you consume a large amount of food in a short amount of time way past the point of fullness, you are bingeing on food. Bingeing is also characterized by wanting to escape from overwhelming emotions, feeling numb, and feeling remorse or guilt afterwards. Bingeing is also known as compulsive eating or emotional eating and when done for a prolonged period of time, can contribute to obesity and other health issues. Binge eating disorder is often accompanied by other psychological problems as well, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, impulsivity, and personality disorders. Fortunately, Binge Eating Disorder is now an official psychiatric diagnosis and it is reimbursable by insurance companies. If you experience any of the behaviors mentioned above, we can help. Our staff at New York Behavioral Health uses evidence-based practices and can help you improve your symptoms very soon.
How Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) Can Help with Binge Eating Disorder
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven effective in the treatment of binge eating. Warm, caring, professionals can offer CBT therapy in a comfortable setting at New York Behavioral Health, which is conveniently located on Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street. Our compassionate staff have been extensively trained in scientifically supported techniques to efficiently reduce your suffering. We also work with experienced and knowledgeable psychiatrists if we determine that medication could be helpful. We know it is not easy to get started, but we are here to help you get on the path to a better life. For information about CBT therapy, please email or call New York Behavioral Health, and a staff member will be there to answer your questions. Your privacy and comfort are a priority, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your problems and their treatment.
If you are interested in more technical details about binge eating disorder, please continue to read below, but at any point feel free to call us if we can be of help.
Binge Eating Disorder Definition
Binge eating disorder is characterized by distinct overeating episodes called binges. Typically binges involve consuming unusually large amounts of food for a single meal. Calories may range from 3,000 to 15,000 or more. This is accompanied by a “feeling” of being out of control, or feeling compelled to do it. Anticipating a binge can involve positive feelings such as excitement or relief. Likewise the binge itself can be a temporary respite from negative emotions. But, for many, the times before and during binges can also consist of negative emotions, similar to those that follow the binge. Binges are often followed by feelings of shame, embarrassment (although usually binge eaters engage in the behavior alone), guilt, anxiety, etc.
Characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder Population
Many binge eaters are obese or at least overweight as frequent binges almost always lead to steep weight increases. Those suffering with binge eating disorder are more likely to also be experiencing other emotional or behavioral problems when compared to obese individuals without the disorder, e.g., ocd or major depression.
Binge Eating Disorder Diagnosis
The American Psychiatric Association includes Binge Eating Disorder in the Appendix as a syndrome in need of further study. It may be the most common eating disorder in the US, with estimates as high as 4%. But, currently it is not included as an Axis I disorder. A diagnosis of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified can be given when appropriate. It is likely that the next version of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders will likely include Binge Eating Disorder, given the attention obesity is receiving.
Binge Eating Disorder Causes
There is not consensus regarding the etiology of binge eating disorder. There is a great likelihood that genes and other biological factors, such as neurotransmitters or hormones play a role, but the amounts of influence are yet to be determined. In addition various situational and behavioral events are likely involved. Periods of calorie restriction (typical dieting), stress, interpersonal strife, and deficiencies in modulating emotions and other behavioral coping strategies put people at greater risk of developing the disorder. Binge episodes can be triggered by various situational, emotional, or interpersonal variables. Some of the most common include boredom, anger, anxiety, stress, loneliness, rejection, disappointment, etc.
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
Despite the lack of consensus on the precise diagnostic characteristics, there is agreement that binge eating can be treated. Cognitive behavioral therapy and Interpersonal Therapy are believed to be efficacious. During therapy many clients will experience a reduction in binges, weight, as well as anxiety and other emotional symptoms, and an improvement in relationships.