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Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

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) is the most prevalent but the least well understood and publicised of all eating disorders. It is estimated that between one and three per cent of the population may be affected. It 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. Among those undergoing treatment for obesity, it is believed that as many as 30 per cent may have binge eating disorder.

Binge eating disorder causes are emotionally based. The traditional challenge in correctly diagnosing and treating people lies in establishing the root cause. People who are very overweight are often seen as having poor nutritional habits and knowledge (poor income/lack of access to healthy food may also be a factor). These difficulties may be addressed by good nutritional advice and ongoing support. However, this would not be effective for someone with binge eating disorder because the root cause driving their cycle of bingeing is emotional. Unless this is addressed, lifestyle changes will not be maintained.

However, there is a positive outlook for binge eating disorders treatment. There is now a good body of evidence for a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) based approach which can be delivered either in self-help programmes or sessions with a psychologist. CBT involves making links between thoughts, feelings and behaviour and taking a problem-solving approach, focusing, for example on what causes a binge and how to alleviate the triggers for this response.

This treatment approach shows good outcomes for binge eating disorders recovery and improvements in awareness of this distressing condition, which should support more people to seek help and treatment.

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.