“Eating disorders are estimated to affect approximately 9% of the Australian population.” National Eating Disorders Collaboration.
Like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, binge eating is classified as an eating disorder. Research has found that binge eating is the most common eating disorder in Australia and one of the factors that predispose individuals to obesity.
Binge eating involves eating a quantity of food that is greater than what most people would consume in a given situation or in a specific timeframe. The individual often feels out of control while eating whereby one can’t stop or limit their food intake. Individuals with binge eating difficulties may report eating quickly, eating when not physically hungry, and overeating to the point of experiencing physical discomfort. The binge eating episode is often completed alone or in secret owing to shame and tends to be followed by feelings of guilt, depression and shame.
Binge eating episodes are commonly triggered by unpleasant emotions, interpersonal stress, and restricted food intake. Individuals with binge eating can also struggle with other mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression and substance use disorders.
What causes someone to become a binge eater?
Common reasons for developing symptoms of an eating disorder usually involve an underlying psychological disturbance, with symptoms such as:
- Poor impulse control
- Low self-esteem
- Distorted body image
- Unprocessed grief or trauma
- Relationship issues
- Social isolation
- Self loathing
- Difficulty tolerating distressing emotions that were not mastered during childhood
Associated problems can include digestive complaints, guilt, shame, joint pain and degeneration, self-hatred, fatigue, depression and more. Eating problems are also common in individuals who experienced sexual or emotional abuse in their younger years.
Current best practice guidelines suggest that interventions drawn from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) can are useful treatment approaches for binge eating disorder. CBT explores the relationship between your thinking, feelings and actions and raising awareness of how this operates as part of an individual’s binge eating cycle. DBT is a mindfulness based approach involving the development of skills to promote more effective distress tolerance, emotion regulation and higher relationship satisfaction. If these methods have been attempted, some people choose to participate in longer term, depth psychotherapy.
More severe and enduring cases may require medical or inpatient treatment.
The trained psychotherapists at Bayside Psychotherapy aim to address eating disorders not as simple food issues but at the level of particular thoughts and feelings which give rise to eating difficulties. Such contributing thoughts are not always obvious or even conscious at first. Our methods come from extensive experience with many patients and are based on several treatment options. In addition to therapy some self help resources are popular, although they were intended to compliment therapy sessions:
Call Bayside Psychotherapy today on (03) 9557 9113 to find out if we can help you overcome the temptation to binge eat. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation. Otherwise you can make an inquiry by using our contact form.
Binge eating therapy sessions can be conducted securely online by video conferencing software or in Melbourne, and can easily be booked online.
Note: This information is informative only and is not to be used for diagnosis or substitution of appropriate assessment and/or treatment by a registered practitioner. Information on this page and our entire site should not be construed as implying that our therapists are specialists in treating any condition whatsoever. While some of our therapists may have experience working with people suffering from a specific condition, not all of our therapists do. We do not guarantee any particular level of performance, cure or management of symptoms. Each case is unique and responds differently with collaboration between client and therapist being crucial. Always seek appropriate assessment from a qualified professional such as a GP, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist or social worker especially if you are acutely distressed.
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