Binge Eating Help & Treatment
Binge eating disorder (BED) is not caused by one thing, rather, it is caused by a combination of several different factors.
For example, someone may develop a binge eating disorder if they witnessed a parent dealing with the same or a similar issue.
Dieting can also cause binge eating disorder in some people who go too far in restricting their food intake and overeat in a single sitting to compensate for the previous lack of food. (1)
Binge Eating Disorder Symptoms
Binge eating disorder can impact a person’s life in a number of ways. For example, binge eating disorder is linked to:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
Not only this, binge eating disorder is linked to a range of mental health issues, such as:
If you recognise any of the above symptoms in yourself, or you feel that you are struggling with a binge eating disorder, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Someone with a binge eating disorder may not have every symptom listed, and it may be the case that you are suffering from a different type of eating disorder known as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED). (3)
In either case, you should seek professional medical advice.
What Treatment Should I be Given?
Treatment for a binge eating disorder may vary depending on the severity of your condition and how long you have been struggling. Different doctors may also have different approaches to tackling the problem.
Some common types of therapy for a binge eating disorder are based on changing behavioural patterns and learning about nutrition.
There are several approaches that can be taken, but a mixture of medication and therapy is the most common.
Below are a number of different therapies and medications you can expect from treatment:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the most common type of therapy used to treat a binge eating disorder.
CBT helps you to change your negative thoughts into positive ones so you approach things with a positive attitude and promote positive outcomes.
It can help to retrain your brain to adopt a healthy attitude towards food and nutrition.
Medication may not always be needed, with many people being able to recover with therapy alone.
However, in severe cases of binge eating disorder and in cases where there has been significant weight gain, a drug called Lisdexamfetamine has been shown to improve symptoms of BED with few side effects – the most notable being headaches or dry mouth. (4)
An anti-seizure medication called Topiramate has also been shown to have positive effects on patients with a binge eating disorder due to its efficacy in reducing impulsiveness. It has also been shown to reduce weight in clinically obese patients. (5)
In some patients, antidepressants also work in tackling a binge eating disorder.
3. Nutrition Counselling
Speaking to a nutritionist that is trained in treating eating disorders can help you change your outlook on food and dieting.
They can teach you healthy eating patterns and help you identify if there are foods that trigger your binges.
They will work with you to create a meal plan that is both healthy and fulfilling.
4. Group Therapy
Group Therapy is a popular form of addiction treatment and works the same way for a binge eating disorder.
Group therapy is a local group of people who are struggling with a binge eating disorder who attend a weekly meeting to openly discuss their disorder, thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgmental space.
These groups are an excellent way to get a better understanding of the disorder and many people report that they feel less alone knowing that other people are experiencing the same problem.
While these groups are sometimes free to join, some charge a small fee.
5. Family Therapy
Some people feel that their binge eating disorder is a result of seeing a parent deal with a similar disorder, or from experiencing some abuse or trauma.
In these cases, family therapy is an ideal place to air these issues and begin to heal relationships.
There are many ways in which you can help yourself overcome a binge eating disorder, particularly if your disorder is not too severe. For example, you can practice mindfulness or meditation to help you overcome your cravings.
This is especially helpful if you already know what triggers your binge eating episodes. However, if you are unaware of what is causing your binges, it is recommended that you seek professional help.
How to Prepare for Your Appointment
Attending your first appointment to treat a binge eating disorder can be an overwhelming and scary experience. However, your doctor is only going to be interested in treating you and is not there to judge you in any way.
It is important that you go into your appointment preparing to be completely honest about your condition. If you lie about your binge eating to play down your symptoms, you may not get the help you need to fully recover.
Your treatment will likely involve more than one professional – as noted above. You may need physical, medical and mental health intervention to help you overcome it.
Be prepared to be weighed and have your height measured. The doctor will want to do a full physical exam to get a better idea of your overall health.
This may also include a urine sample and some blood tests.
Should My Treatment Involve Weight Loss?
Weight loss is not usually the main priority when it comes to treating a binge eating disorder, however, in some cases where your weight has become a health concern, then it will be factored into the treatment.
The main issue when treating a binge eating disorder is the activity of binge eating itself. Your treatment should aim to get to the bottom of this and change your approach to food and dieting so you can go on to have a healthy relationship with food.
How Common is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating disorder is the second most common type of eating disorder in the UK, with binge eating affecting up to 9.8% of females and 0.5% of men in Europe. (6)
However, because not everyone seeks treatment for a binge eating disorder, the real figures are likely to be much higher.
Anyone can be affected by a binge eating disorder and having one does not make you a failure. It is challenging to keep up with ever-changing beauty standards and many people turn to diet and exercise to try to feel better about themselves or to fit in.
Most of us overeat occasionally, however, if it is happening to you on a regular basis and you feel like the instances of binge eating are too much – or if you are concerned about your relationship with food and dieting, it is a good idea to pay a visit to your GP.
Get Help Today
At Rehab Recovery, we are dedicated to helping you overcome your addictions.
Our team of addiction specialists are available to take your calls and answer your questions any time of the day or night. We are just a phone call away.
 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases – https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/binge-eating-disorder/symptoms-causes
 Wiley Online Library – Comorbidity of body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorders: Severity of psychopathology and body image disturbance – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eat.20219
 Cambridge University Press – Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED): Clinical heterogeneity and cognitive-behavioral therapy outcome – https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/european-psychiatry/article/other-specified-feeding-or-eating-disorders-osfed-clinical-heterogeneity-and-cognitivebehavioral-therapy-outcome/61FBC9C2404996EECA4671E8E66A4F22
 National Library of Medicine – Lisdexamfetamine: A Review in Binge Eating Disorder – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29134566/
 National Library of Medicine – Treatment of obese patients with binge eating disorder using topiramate: a review – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714287/
 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – Eating disorders: How common is it? – https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/eating-disorders/background-information/prevalence/