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Binge eating disorder

by Carlo Battiata (work experience student with Dr Laura Keyes & Associates) & Dr Laura Keyes

A common eating disorder called binge eating disorder ('BED') is characterised by recurrent episodes of consuming large amounts of food quickly and uncontrollably. People experiencing BED may attempt to make up for their binge eating by purging, fasting, or exercising excessively. This is frequently followed by feelings of guilt and shame. BED sadly can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. So it is critical for people who struggle with binge eating to get professional help to treat this.

Treatment options for BED include medication and psychological therapies including Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). These therapies can help people to recognise and change harmful thought patterns and actions that typically contribute to binge eating - as well as cultivating healthy coping mechanisms for when the urge to binge eat shows up.

Symptoms/warning signs of binge eating disorder:

  • eating when not hungry

  • eating very fast during a binge

  • eating alone or secretly

  • feeling depressed, guilty, ashamed, or disgusted after binge eating

  • eating a lot of food, very quickly

  • try to hide how much you are eating

  • store up supplies of food

  • putting on weight (but this does not happen to everyone with binge eating disorder.

People who regularly eat in this way and display the above signs may have binge eating disorder. (NHS, 2022)

What next? Support and advice:

Steps that you could take to help better understand and manage this:

  • Recognise and accept the behaviour of binge eating and try to understand more about it.

  • Try to determine any emotional or psychological triggers to this

  • Trial new strategies to manage when binge eating urges show up

  • Establish healthy coping strategies e.g. keeping a journal, exercise, speaking with a therapist or support group.

  • Make a regular meal plan with a variety of wholesome, balanced foods to nourish yourself.

  • Try not to keep foods that cause triggers at home, or keep them out of sight.

  • Try the mindful eating approach to see if this can support your recovery.

More advice and information:

  • NHS:

  • Beat: the UK's leading charity supporting individuals with eating disorders.

  • ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) UK: an organization that provides support and information to those affected by anorexia, bulimia, and BED.

  • B-eat: a UK charity that supports individuals affected by eating disorders, including binge-eating disorder.

  • SEED (Support, Education, and Eating Disorders): a UK charity that provides support and information to those affected by eating disorders, including BED.

  • Men Get Eating Disorders Too: a UK charity that provides support and information to men affected by eating disorders, including BED.

  • National Centre for Eating Disorders (NCED): UK based organization which offers help and support to people affected by eating disorders, including BED.

  • The Priory Group - a UK-based healthcare provider that offers treatment for individuals with eating disorders, including BED.

If you would like to privately discuss this with a professional, can you speak to your GP,who would be able to refer you to NHS services. Or we can offer support as privately funded therapists, usually ACT or CBT.

T: 07880 610 449



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