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Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorder repeatedly and uncontrollably consume large amounts of food. Guilt, shame, and distress build with each episode. Frequent binge eating can also result in chronic physical health issues. Social pressures to compensate for bingeing episodes often lead to dieting and food restriction. Efforts at dieting frequently end with another binge eating episode, and the distressing cycle continues. 

If you or someone you know needs help with binge eating, reach out today.

Recovery breaks the binge eating cycle

Binge eating disorder typically involves excessive food intake while feeling a loss of control with food. Binge eating behaviors may be used to soothe negative emotions, but the “comfort” it brings does not last. People with binge eating disorder often swing to the other extreme and begin highly restrictive diets, which often ends in bingeing again—and more negative feelings. However, binge eating disorder is more than just yo-yo dieting; it’s a serious brain-based illness. Those affected by binge eating disorder often exhibit an extreme fixation on food and body that significantly impairs their daily lives. 

To compound the situation, a diagnosis of binge eating disorder may be accompanied by other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Binge eating disorder may also contribute to physical conditions, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Binge eating disorder can affect anyone of any weight, size, shape, age, or gender.

The Emily Program understands the physical and emotional strain of binge eating disorder (BED). We’re here to help with personalized treatment programs that free you or your loved one from the ravaging ups and downs of BED, paving the way to a more peaceful relationship with food and self.

Understanding the Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a complex condition influenced by a blend of genetic, psychological, and sociocultural factors. It’s important to recognize that BED is not a choice but rather a disorder that can affect anyone, regardless of weight, size, or shape.

Genetic Factors:

  • Genetic variations affecting the brain’s reward response
  • Variations in gene regions associated with appetite and emotional regulation
  • Disruption in hormones regulating hunger and satiety, such as leptin and ghrelin

Psychological Factors:

  • Low self-esteem and negative body image
  • Feelings of inadequacy or loneliness
  • Co-occurring mood and anxiety disorders or a history of trauma

Social Factors:

  • Cultural emphasis on dieting and weight loss
  • Weight-related teasing, bullying, or discrimination
  • Social isolation, leading to an increased focus on food as a source of comfort

Binge Eating Disorder Warning Signs

Binge eating is more than overeating. Be on the lookout for these possible behavioral, physical, and psychological indications of BED:

  • Frequent episodes of overeating, or binge eating, occurring at least once a week over three months
  • Using food to cope with negative emotions, but feeling distressed, disgusted, guilty, or depressed instead
  • No compensatory behaviors to “make up” for the calorie intake, such as purging or over-exercise
  • Feelings of loss of control, self-loathing, depression, anxiety, and shame
  • Insomnia, joint or muscle pain, and/or headaches
  • Social withdrawal
  • Menstrual problems
  • Suicidal thoughts

Health Risks of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is one of the most common eating disorders in the United States, affecting approximately 2.2% of the population. Despite its prevalence, binge eating often goes unrecognized, particularly in those living in larger bodies. Pervasive weight stigma can prevent individuals in larger bodies from seeking help for their disordered eating symptoms due to very real fears of their concerns being dismissed or overlooked by healthcare professionals. Such weight stigmatization might present in the form of unsolicited weight loss or dieting recommendations, which only exacerbates binge eating symptoms. This stigma not only impedes the detection of binge eating and impacts a person’s access to proper care, but also influences how health risks associated with binge eating are perceived and treated.

Binge eating disorder can profoundly affect various organ systems, including:

  • Cardiovascular System: Potentially impacting heart health
  • Gastrointestinal System: Affecting digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Nervous System: Influencing both mental and physical health
  • Endocrine System: Affecting hormonal balance and regulation

Read more about the physical effects of binge eating.

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment at The Emily Program

The Emily Program recognizes the importance of a multidisciplinary, tailored approach to healing from binge eating disorder. Those affected by binge eating behaviors often grapple with feelings of isolation accompanied by shame, self-doubt, and hopelessness. Our programs address these unique, deeply personal experiences with empathy and understanding.

Key Components of Our Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Approach:

  • Comprehensive Care: The Emily Program believes in the power of collective expertise. Treatment for an eating disorder—whether anorexia, bulimia, OSFED, ARFID, or binge eating—should consider the whole person, including the range of complex factors related to disordered eating patterns. Expert, multidisciplinary care enables us to address every aspect of the eating disorder for lasting healing.
  • Individualized Treatment Plans: Every journey to recovery is unique. That’s why we craft personalized treatment plans that respond to each individual’s intersecting identities and specific challenges and needs. Treatment is tailored to each patient and designed to be as effective and meaningful as possible.
  • In-depth Exploration: Binge eating disorder has nothing to do with a lack of willpower or any personal shortcoming. For someone struggling with binge eating, separating from this mindset is difficult but possible. Our approach aims to interrupt the feelings of personal failure that fuel the binge-restriction cycle. With the support of our team, clients will work through shame, foster self-compassion, build up distress tolerance, overcome eating challenges, and better understand the nature of their illness. 
  • Holistic Approach: The Emily Program understands that binge eating disorder often co-occurs with other health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Our extensive expertise creates a space for healing and moving beyond the interconnected aspects of binge eating disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Options 

The Emily Program offers a variety of treatment options to honor the deeply personal recovery journey from binge eating disorder:

  • Residential Treatment: For those who need 24/7 care and a structured environment, our residential eating disorder treatment offers intensive support and medical monitoring, therapeutic meals, continuous supervision, individual and group therapies, and personalized care plans tailored to each client’s specific needs.
  • Day Treatment: Designed for individuals who require structured daily support without needing an overnight stay, our PHP/IDP and IOP treatment programs include individual therapy, group therapy, and therapeutic meals, allowing clients to return home in the evenings.
  • Outpatient Treatment: Catering to those who have advanced in their recovery journey or require a lower level of care, our outpatient treatment offers flexibility, enabling clients to attend therapy sessions, nutrition counseling, and group therapies based on a schedule that fits into their everyday lives.
  • Virtual Treatment: The Emily Program provides virtual treatment options to meet our clients where they’re at. Virtual treatment ensures clients can access support, counseling, and therapy sessions from their homes, enhancing the accessibility and convenience of treatment.
  • CARE IOP: In response to feedback from former clients with binge eating disorder, The Emily Program introduced CARE IOP, a virtual intensive outpatient program specifically for adults with binge eating disorder or OSFED with a pattern of binge eating. CARE IOP’s curriculum considers the intersectional domains of client identities, providing clients with ongoing opportunities for supported self-accountability while practicing eating, food preparation, and coping within the comfort of their own private space.

Each treatment path at The Emily Program is thoughtfully designed to ensure that anyone struggling with binge eating disorder finds the support, direction, and care necessary for their journey toward recovery, regardless of their current life situation or recovery stage.

Ask for help. You are not alone. Begin your journey to recovery today.

Get help. Find hope.