Binge eating disorder (BED)

Regain control of your eating

Many people experience the compulsion to overindulge with their food at times, we commonly refer to this behaviour as ‘bingeing’. People who have a BED will describe a feeling of an overwhelming need to overindulge in food to the point of making themselves feel disgusted with themselves and guilty that they have eaten so much. Unlike people with Bulimia, they do not feel the need or want to use purging behaviours. The extent of feeling out of control and the cycle of distress and bingeing as a result of the distress, is a similar level to those who have Bulimia. Although, it is important to note the frequency, intensity and associated reduction in self-esteem and wellbeing is different for everyone who experiences either condition. At Schoen Clinic your health is our priority, we want you to make it yours.

Our experienced therapists at Schoen Clinic will help you address BED; helping you to regain healthy eating habits and regain your self-esteem through psychoeducation and psychological and psychodynamic therapies.

Binge eating disorder: Causes & symptoms

Binge eating disorder (BED) can be caused by a range of reasons, including stressful life events, genetic disposition, and upbringing. Frequently people experiencing BED will describe feelings of poor self-worth, low self-confidence, poor impulse control and depression. Sometimes they feel that their binging can be related to stress and anxiety as eating gives them a temporary relief from agitation and distress. However, the pleasure feeling is short lived and replaced by further distress.

In Binge Eating Disorder, binge eating occurs in response to uncomfortable feelings and distress as opposed to people who consistently use food as a ‘comfort’ or have a health condition that leads to obesity.

Binge episodes

Binge eating disorder is the experience of reoccurring episodes of binge eating with an associated loss of control i.e. overeating in a discrete period of time (e.g. within two hours).
These binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
  • Eating more rapidly than usual
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food despite not physically feeling hungry
  • Feeling disgusted at oneself, depressed or highly guilty following the episode
  • Eating alone due to feelings of embarrassment around how much food is consumed

Other symptoms of BED

Other associated symptoms include:
  • Negative mood, interpersonal stressors and negative judgements surrounding weight, shape, and food triggering bingeing
  • Using food as a coping mechanism
  • Seeing food as the only solution to difficulties
  • Hoarding of food (to eat secretly later)
  • Lack of sensation or feelings of numbness during binges
  • Feeling of loss of control during binges
  • Never feeling satisfied, no matter the amount of food consumed
  • Sleeping difficulties (e.g. insomnia or sleep apnoea)
  • Physical symptoms associated with a high body weight (e.g. cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, muscle and/or joint pain, gastrointestinal difficulties)
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Depression and/or anxiety

Causes of BED

As with other eating disorders, there is no one definitive cause of Binge eating disorder. However, there are certain factors that can increase the likelihood of developing BED:
  • Genetic vulnerability, illustrated by family history or BED, or other eating, mental health, or substance misuse disorders
  • Biological irregularities, such as hormonal abnormalities or genetic mutations
  • Experience of judgemental comments about one’s body, weight, or eating behaviours
  • Body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem and difficulty coping with feelings
  • Depression
  • Experience of trauma, including abuse
  • Experience of an emotionally invalidating environment (leading to distrust of one’s own emotions)

Diagnosis: How do you know you have BED

People who seek help for a Binge eating disorder usually will see their doctor about their anxiety and/or depression and will describe their relationship with binging food as one of the reasons they are unwell. Others will focus on their unhealthy eating and need help with their insight into why they binge.

Our experts will be able to help diagnose BED and work with you to tackle it so that your overall health and wellbeing will improve.

The treatments and support we provide

Binge eating therapy is predominantly about working on the underlying anxiety and depression that triggers your binging. In addition, we will support you to alter your eating behaviour, for example by keeping to a nutritious diet and eating regularly rather than sporadically. Our eating disorder day programme can support you to understand why you binge and how you can develop an improved self-image of yourself and increase your feelings of self-esteem.

Psychological therapies

Our specialist therapists will work with you to increase your knowledge and understanding of how you connect to yourself and others. To discover deep rooted issues that influence how you see yourself and help you replace them with more constructive and empowering perspectives. Psychodynamic and behavioural approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are offered in our services.

We will support you and your families, where relevant to develop new insights and approaches that will benefit you.

Physical healthcare

We will monitor your physical health on a regular basis to ensure we know whether your physical condition is at a high risk of short or long term illness. When a person’s body goes into nutritional crisis it impacts on their organs and electrolytes causing potentially fatal consequences. We will help you seek the appropriate medical help you need in a timely and supportive manner.

Nutritional management

We provide you with psychoeducation , dietician advice and regular supervised meals that provide you with support and reassurance at every stage.

Eating disorder group interventions: Supporting each other

Our skilled group facilitators will encourage you to explore how you connect and respond to others in a safe environment. Groups are particularly helpful in sharing positive experiences, skills, knowledge, and supportive interventions. Group work is recommended so that you have the opportunity to explore how you relate to others and how they relate to you.

Mental health and wellbeing

Your wellbeing is important and often when people are unwell, they neglect their creative, spiritual and sensory selves. We will encourage you to reconnect with these aspects of yourself through a number of supported activities. We teach and help you utilise mindfulness, mantra, relaxation techniques and your own creativity.

Meet our team

Our team of experts consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologists, therapists, dieticians and specialist nurses work together as a multidisciplinary team for the benefit of every patient in the treatment of BED.

Our specialised clinics

Our specialised clinic offers you a personalised treatment programme in the treatment of Binge eating disorder (BED).