Food. It’s necessary for survival, but it’s also something that can bring much pleasure. Holidays, social gatherings, or other celebratory occasions, are often associated with larger-than-normal quantities of food and as a result, overeating is usually quite common. However, for those with a binge eating disorder, overeating isn’t just something that happens every now and then. Binge eating is a compulsive eating disorder that can leave you feeling embarrassed, depressed, and as though you have no control over this basic, life-sustaining habit.
If you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t control your eating, know that you’re not alone. Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States. More than just an intense appreciation for delicious food, binge eating stems from serious mental and emotional challenges that cause someone to seek solace in food. At Blair Wellness Group of Beverly Hills, we have experience treating clients with a variety of food disorders including binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, and more. If you would like to start feeling healthier and more in control of your life, we encourage you to give us a call.
Understanding Binge Eating Disorder
Most people are guilty of binge eating from time to time, but for those who have a true disorder, this unhealthy behavior happens repetitively — often several times a week. Binge eating involves eating quickly and continuing to eat despite being uncomfortably full. People usually do their binge eating in secret since they often feel ashamed or guilty afterward.
Unlike bulimia, binge eating doesn’t involve purging. As a result, people usually gain weight and can suffer from other compulsive eating health-related complications such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and other life-threatening problems.
Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
In today’s world, it’s somewhat common for people to overindulge. So, how do you know if you just love to eat or if you truly have a possible eating disorder? Binge-eating episodes must occur at least once a week for three months in order to be diagnosed with a disorder. The following are some of the most common symptoms:
- Eating very quickly
- Eating large amounts of food even when you’re not hungry
- Continuing to eat despite being uncomfortably full
- Isolating yourself from others and eating in private
- Intense feeling of shame and guilt after overeating
- Weight gain
Changing Your Relationship With a Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating, like other eating disorders, can make you feel depressed, ashamed, and frustrated about not being unable to control your actions. These feelings can cause someone to regress into social isolation, progressively worsening depression and binge eating, and creating a vicious cycle for which there seems to be no end. But, what if the key to exiting the mental and emotional rollercoaster could be achieved by just changing your perspective on your disorder? It’s possible that with a little understanding and a willingness to see what your disorder may be telling you, that you may be able to finally break free from the hold that it has on your life.
Eating disorders are never about the food. Food is just the tool that is used to cope with other underlying issues. Past or current trauma, negative self-image, and comorbid conditions can have a significant influence on the development of a binge eating disorder. Although eating may seem unrelated to a past event that caused you much grief, it’s a means of feeling more in control over an uncontrollable situation. Binge eating, although unhealthy and not a condition to be ignored, can open your eyes to the fact that there may be something else in your life that you need to deal with. Perhaps you are ashamed of your body, were bullied as a child, or struggle with the stress that goes along with always wanting to be perfect. These underlying challenges can be distressing and difficult to address and binge eating provides a way to “feel better” and hide from your emotions.
Reflect on What Your Binge Eating Disorder May Be Telling You
Many times people become so focused on their symptoms and the frustration that they cause, that they never stop to think about the reason behind them. Looking at a binge eating disorder as just that — a symptom — and not as a personal weakness is a way to allow yourself to accept it for what it is and start thinking about what it could be telling you about certain aspects of your life. Are you unhappy at work? Are you still coping with the death of a loved one from years past? Maybe you’ve been body shamed most of your life and although you tell yourself it doesn’t bother you, maybe your mind is telling you something different.
Oftentimes there are unresolved issues in the past that manifest as conditions such as eating disorders in the present. Like many mental health disorders, it is only in exploring and addressing the possible root cause that you’ll be able to truly heal.
Getting Help for a Binge Eating Disorder
If you feel as though you can’t control your eating, and you no longer feel like yourself, remember that you’re not alone. Millions of people struggle with compulsive eating, but fortunately, you can break free from the debilitating cycle that is holding you back from living your best life. The first step is to realize that you may not be able to overcome it on your own. Whether you’re struggling to manage an eating disorder, addiction, PTSD, or another mental health condition, the best thing you can do is to seek the help of a professional.
Dr. Cassidy Blair of Blair Wellness Group is a licensed clinical psychologist skilled in helping people find the cause of their mental health problems so they can be better understood and managed effectively. If you’re ready to change the way you think about your eating disorder and start down a path toward healing, we encourage you to make an appointment. We service clients in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Brentwood, West Hollywood, and the surrounding areas.