Binge Eating Disorder – What is it?

In order to meet the criteria for binge eating disorder, someone must have recurrent episodes of binge eating. The DSM defines binge eating as 1. Eating in short amount of time an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar amount of time and circumstance. 2. A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.
Then the binge eating episodes are associated with 3 or more of the following:
Eating much more rapidly than normal
Eating until uncomfortably full
Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating
Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
We must also have been distressed about our binge eating, and it must occur at least once a week for 3 months, and the binge eating is not associated with inappropriate compensatory behavior as in bulimia nervosa.
Let’s talk about the cause: Obviously, they don’t know for sure what causes BED, but they do know that there is a genetic component to all EDs, and if someone in our family has had an ED we are 46-72% more likely to have one as well. In my experience, trauma in our past (abuse, frightening event, etc) can lead to unhealthy coping skills such as an ED. I also find that patients of mine who were placed into a body focused activity at a young age are more likely as well. I offer up those triggers or causes because many of my patients have said that they overeat as a way to numb out from a painful memory, or have been overeating as a way to make themselves unattractive (usually as a result of sexual abuse). Or there was so much pressure on them as children to look a certain way that they always felt out of control with food, and once they could make their own choices, they found themselves binging frequently. Also, many people will feel like they are eating to fill a void, and that could be an emotional void that was left by an emotionally absent parent.

Be patient. It’s a process, not perfection. You didn’t develop BED overnight so it won’t go away quickly either. And yes when we are doing the hard work on therapy where we are focusing on the true cause of our ED it can get worse at first, but just work at it often, and trust me, it can get better!
My video on recovering from sexual abuse:
Healing from an emotional neglect:
Trauma playlist:
Fun movie for the weekend:

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