Not Just Overeating- Binge Eating Disorder

My specialty is Binge Eating Disorder. Since February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month, I wanted to tell you a little more about it. When it comes to diagnosing BED, these are the DSM criteria:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following: 
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
    • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
  • Binge episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following: 
    • Eating much more rapidly than normal.
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
    • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed or shameful about how much one is eating.
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
  • Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
  • Binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.
  • The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors like purging or compulsive exercise, as seen in bulimia and anorexia.

Binge eating is a dissociative behavior. This means that the binge becomes a way to separate from emotional distress. On occasion, that might work. It becomes a problem when it is used long-term. The more food is used for emotional reasons, the more the brain gets wired to seek the escape. Then, ability to sit with difficult emotions becomes increasingly difficult. You start using food automatically to escape and numb before you even realize you are feeling an emotion at all. I love using Accelerated Resolution Therapy and EMDR Therapy because it gets to the heart of this quickly and allows you to make changes to these patterns. Even if you don’t have BED, but feel like food dominates your life, contact me today!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.

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