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 Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is characterized primarily by a cycle of binge eating without the regular use of compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas.


The primary symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder are:


  • Frequent episodes of eating large quantities of food in short periods of time.


  • Feeling out of control over eating behavior.


  • There are also several behavioral indicators of BED such as eating when not hungry, eating in secret and hoarding behaviors.

Healthy Tips

The more specific the information you offer, the better the person you’re speaking with will understand and be able to help. Answer the following questions and include the answers you are comfortable revealing:


  • When did you begin having different thoughts regarding food, weight, or exercise? What were the thoughts?
  • When did the different behaviors start? What was the behavior and did you hope to accomplish something specific (lose weight, gain control of something, get someone’s attention)?
  • Have you noticed any physical health effects (fatigue, loss of hair, digestive problems, loss of menstrual cycle, heart palpitations, etc.)? Or any emotional effects?
  • How are you currently feeling physically? Emotionally? Do you feel ready to stop the disordered eating behaviors?
  • How can the people in your life best support you? Do you want them to monitor your behavior?
  • Do you want them to ask you how you are doing with your recovery or would you rather tell them?

Source: National Eating Disorders Association


Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder can be successfully treated in therapy. Therapy can teach you how to fight the compulsion to binge, exchange unhealthy habits for newer healthy ones , monitor your eating and moods, and develop effective stress-busting skills.

Three types of therapy are particularly helpful in the treatment of binge eating disorder:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on the dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors involved in binge eating. One of the main goals is for you to become more self-aware of how you use food to deal with emotions. The therapist will help you recognize your binge eating triggers and learn how to avoid or combat them. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for binge eating disorder also involves education about nutrition, healthy weight loss, and relaxation techniques.

  • Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on the relationship problems and interpersonal issues that contribute to compulsive eating. Your therapist will help you improve your communication skills and develop healthier relationships with family members and friends. As you learn how to relate better to others and get the emotional support you need, the compulsion to binge becomes more infrequent and easier to resist.

  • Dialectical behavior therapy combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness meditation. The emphasis of therapy is on teaching binge eaters how to accept themselves, tolerate stress better, and regulate their emotions. Your therapist will also address unhealthy attitudes you may have about eating, shape, and weight. Dialectical behavior therapy typically includes both individual treatment sessions and weekly group therapy sessions.

Do I Binge Eat?


Ask yourself the following questions. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you have binge eating disorder.


  • Do you feel out of control when you’re eating?

  • Do you think about food all the time?

  • Do you eat in secret?

  • Do you eat until you feel sick?

  • Do you eat to escape from worries, relieve stress, or to comfort yourself?

  • Do you feel disgusted or ashamed after eating?

  • Do you feel powerless to stop eating, even though you want to?

"I am more powerful than my eating disorder"

We Can Help

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