What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a condition defined by periods of serious overeating (often in relatively short periods ofBinge Eating Disorder time) paired with feelings of loss of control. This disorder shares its diagnostic category with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa; however, those with binge eating disorder usually do not engage in purging behaviors after eating, which distinguishes them from those with bulimia. Additionally, many binge eaters are overweight, which further distinguishes them from those with anorexia.

What are some symptoms of binge eating?

Binge eaters act on compulsive cravings for food–often foods which these individuals consider “forbidden.”

Periods of overeating may be triggered by specific events and are often followed by feelings of severe discomfort and self-condemnation. While engaging in overeating, individuals often feel intense anxiety, and soon after their binge is over, depression sets in.

Binge eaters often have psychological distress including stress, conflict, low self-esteem, and poor body image. Individuals who experience high levels of criticism or pressure, more often present binge eating symptoms.

How does the condition progress?

In general, binge eating disorder seems to be more common in younger, overweight females. This disorder is chronic and is no less severe than for those who purge. The resulting consequences for body image and body dissatisfaction can lead to mental health disorders, like depression and substance abuse.

Binge eating disorder puts the inflicted individual at risk for childhood/adult obesity. Binge eaters may also be at risk for developing severe medical complications.

In some groups of children and adolescents, binge eating can develop before dietary restraint or purposeful weight loss is learned. In other groups, the concept of dieting is learned and practiced years before binge eating begins.

How can I help treat my child’s binge eating?

Treatment for binge eating disorder is multidisciplinary and includes a dietician and psychotherapist.

The most effective approaches for treating binge eating disorder include behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy in both an individual and group setting. Other highly beneficial types of psychotherapy include assertiveness training, interpersonal skills, and stress management.

When binge episodes decrease or cease, health maintenance depends on a personally effective weight-management program and long-term counseling approaches.

Our Approach At North Shore Pediatric Therapy

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our licensed professional counselor will identify factors and situations that predict and maintain unhealthy eating behaviors and will work to relieve psychological distress. Our licensed dietician will design a personalized weight-loss program to be conducted alongside cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Eating disorders can also take a toll on the family, creating high levels of stress and conflict. That’s why we work with all members of your family by incorporating family therapy sessions to help make the home an environment which promotes a speedy, optimal recovery.

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