13 Minutes

Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

  • CBT helps 30-60 percent of patients with binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa recover completely.
  • Doctors detect just around a third of all eating disorders.
  • Based on one survey, just 23 percent of patients with eating problems in the UK seek and/or receive treatment.
  • Roughly 1.9 percent of European women have BED, compared to 0.3 percent of men.
  • BED is more common among older adults and males than other disordered eating behaviours, and it frequently accompanies obesity.
  • Obesity affects one out of every two people who suffer from binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa. Binge eating disorder and bulimia are thus associated with a substantial risk of health consequences.

The definitive causes of BED are unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a number of factors, which include:

Genetics. BED patients may have heightened responsiveness to dopamine, a brain substance that causes emotions of pleasure and reward. There is also compelling evidence that the disorder is passed down through the generations.

Gender. Women are more likely to have BED than men. Approximately, 1.9 percent of women in Europe have BED, compared to 0.3 percent of men.   It’s possible that this is primarily the result of genetic differences. 

Alterations in the brain’s biochemistry. There are signs that patients with BED may have biochemical or even structural changes in their brains that cause them to have a stronger reaction to food and much less self-control.

Size of the body. Obesity affects nearly half of people with BED, and 25–50 percent of people pursuing weight loss surgery fulfil the BED criteria. Weight issues can be a cause as well as a symptom of the disorder.

Image of one’s body. People who suffer with BED frequently have a negative perception of themselves. Poor body image, diet plans, and overeating all play a role in the disorder’s progression.

Binge eating. It  is frequently reported as the initial symptom of the disease by those who are affected. Bingeing during childhood and adolescence is an example of this.

Luxury Eating Disorder Treatment in London England

Emotional distress. Violence, death, being separated from a member of the family, or a traffic accident are all risk factors. Bullying based on weight during early life may also play a role.

Other mental health issues. Nearly 80 percent of individuals with BED also have substance misuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or phobias.

Anxiety, negative sentiments about body shape or weight, dieting, food availability, or idleness can all cause an event of binge eating.

A Luxury inpatient rehab in the UK for BED is specifically designed to provide care and psychological support for patients with binge eating. Most people seek help from a treatment team to deal with the many facets of BED. The following healthcare professionals and providers are frequently found on treatment teams:

  • Psychotherapist
  • Nutritionist
  • Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist
  • As needed, more therapists (art therapist, yoga therapist etc.)

A primary care doctor, like a paediatrician, family doctor, or an internist as well as other specialized professionals such as adolescence and childhood physicians and gynaecologists, may be able to recommend you to dieticians or regional therapists who have experience handling eating disorders. Not all localities have access to such clinicians, and not all doctors are conversant with eating problem treatment.

The very first step for severely underweight people is to get back on track with their eating habits and go back to a decent body mass for their size and shape. It might be difficult to employ psychotherapy when somebody is severely malnourished since disordered eating impairs a person’s capacity to focus and change behaviour patterns.

Treatment setting – Binge eating disorder can be effectively treated in a high-end outpatient setting across the UK including regions of Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales. When the individual has comorbid neuropsychiatric or medical illness that necessitates a higher level of care (– for example, suicidal ideation), a partial hospitalisation program, a premium inpatient treatment or long-term upscale residential treatment is considered.

Even though there are variations, eating disorder treatment usually focuses on the following components in the given order:

  • Treat psychiatric and medical conditions that are life-threatening.
  • Halt behaviours associated with eating disorders (excessive exercise, food restriction, purging, binge eating etc.)
  • Set up a healthy eating routine and dietary rehabilitation.
  • Counterproductive and harmful eating disorders or ED-related actions and beliefs should be challenged.
  • Resolve physiological and mental health concerns that have been plaguing you.
  • Make a plan to avoid relapsing.

There are a variety of therapeutic options available, including:

  • Binge eating disorder-specific psychotherapy
  • Self-help therapy
  • Pharmacological intervention
  • Behavioural weight loss treatment

In the treatment of binge eating disorders, studies have repeatedly shown that psychotherapy alone is more effective than medication alone. As a result, psychotherapy, like interpersonal therapy or cognitive-behavioural therapy, is the usual first-line remedy. As a second-line intervention, medication is also effective. There are, however, no head-to-head studies comparing active therapies. Furthermore, it is unknown if multiple subtypes of the illness respond towards each therapeutic strategy differentially.

Although binge eating disorder has a lengthy relapsing and remitting pattern, almost all experimental trials have been short-term. A few of these trials have gathered follow-up information 1 to 2 years after the conclusion of the intervention, but there is little information about the condition of patients who have been treated for longer than 2 years.

Eating disorder specialists must choose the appropriate treatment environment, specific treatment to be used, and who will treat the patient with binge eating disorder after examining them.

Specific personalised treatment objectives will decide which treatments are to be used, and they should be strictly delineated. Goals of treatment could include lowering the patients’:

  • Episodes of binge eating
  • Excessive weight if obese or overweight
  • Extreme body image issues and self-esteem problems (in other words, improving self-acceptance of one’s physique)
  • Depression, anxiety, or drug abuse illness (psychiatric comorbidities)

It’s important to distinguish between binge eating disorder treatment and obesity treatment in individuals who have both. Obese or overweight patients with binge eating disorders have a variety of objectives.

It is unknown whether binge eating has negative medical repercussions in persons of normal weight. Nevertheless, such individuals may wish to seek therapy since, in our observation, the illness can lead to weight gain or obesity with time.

As a method of decreasing binge eating, this therapy employs weight-loss techniques (– for example, modest caloric restriction and exercise). Behavioural weight loss therapy is beneficial for certain individuals with binge eating who are also obese or overweight, although it does not particularly target binge eating. A study of patients with a BMI of 27 to 45 who fit the category of binge eating disorder reported that behavioural weight loss treatment resulted in resolution in 44% of patients at the 2-year follow-up.

The following are examples of specific interventions:

  • Caloric restriction of a moderate degree (diet programs)
  • Exercise
  • Nutritional enhancements (with nutrition counselling and rehabilitation)

Professionals should use the Diabetes Prevention Program manual to aid their behavioural weight loss therapy of binge eating disorder.

Clinicians can effectively mix cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and behavioural weight reduction therapy. In a randomised study, 116 obese or overweight patients were managed for binge eating disorder with behavioural weight reduction therapy plus concomitant fluoxetine, CBT, or placebo.  Participants who got supplementary CBT had a lower frequency of binges.

Recovery Step 1: First and foremost, build a healthy and balanced relationship with food to help you recover from binge eating.

Recovering from any addiction is difficult, but bingeing and eating addiction can be exceptionally challenging. Unlike some other addictions, your “drug” is essential to your living, therefore you can’t avoid it or replace it. Rather, you should cultivate a healthier connection with eating, one centred on addressing your dietary needs rather than emotional needs. To do so, you must resist temptation and disrupt the compulsive eating loop. If you have sugary snacks, junk foods and desserts in the house, you are far more prone to overeat. Empty your refrigerator and drawers of your favourite binge foods to avoid the urge.

Paying attention to your body. Learn to recognise the differences between physiological and psychological hunger. If you haven’t eaten in a while and your stomach isn’t grumbling, you are presumably not hungry. Allow time for the craving to subside.

Eating on a constant schedule. Do not wait till you are hungry to eat. This will only result in overeating! Adhere to your meals routine, because skipping meals can lead to compulsive overeating later in the day.

It’s not about avoiding calories. Dietary fat, despite what people think, can potentially help you avoid overeating and putting on weight. To make you feel content and full, include healthy fat throughout each meal.

Overcoming boredom. Divert attention rather than munching once you are bored. Take a stroll, talk to a friend, read a book, or start a new activity like gardening or painting.

Concentrating on the food you are consuming. How many times have you been binge eating in a trance-like mood, oblivious to what you are eating? Be a thoughtful eater rather than a careless eater. Slow down and take time to appreciate the textures and flavours. You will not only consume less, but you will also relish it more.

The significance of refusing to diet

It is understandable to feel the urge to diet after a binge to make up for your excessive eating and get back on course with your health. Dieting, on the other hand, almost always backfires. Food cravings and the desire to overeat are triggered by the restriction and appetite that follows with tight dieting.

Rather than dieting, concentrate on eating in proportion. Find things that are healthful and that you enjoy, and consume only until you are satisfied, not overstuffed. Avoid prohibiting or restricting particular meals, as this will just increase your desire for them. Instead of stating, “I won’t ever eat an ice cream,” say, “I’ll occasionally eat an ice cream.”

Recovery Step 2: Find new ways to nourish your emotions.

An effort to handle unpleasant feelings such as depression, stress, loneliness, anxiety and fear is among the most likely causes for binge eating. When you’re having a rough day, eating may appear to be your only buddy. Binge eating can make symptoms like stress, unhappiness, depression, anxiety, and boredom vanish for a short time. However, the relief is just temporary.

Mood and Food journaling: A method to figure out your overeating triggers

Keeping a mood and food diary is among the greatest ways to figure out what’s causing your binge eating. Whenever you start binge eating or feel obligated to go for your favourite comfort food, take a moment to think about what caused the temptation. If you go back far enough, you will almost always locate an unpleasant event that started the binge.

Note down everything you end up eating (or chose to eat) in your mood and food diary, what distressed you, how you were feeling before eating, how you felt when you were eating, and how you felt thereafter. You will notice a trend form over time.

Determine the feeling you are experiencing. Make an effort to put your feelings into words. Is it stress? Sad reflection? Feelings of helplessness? Frustration? Isolation? Dread? Void?

Accept that reality you are in. Negative emotions are exacerbated by resistance, avoidance and denial. Rather than condemning yourself or what you are experiencing, try to embrace it.

Look into it more. Investigate what is happening. Inside your body and mind, how do you sense the emotion? What are the different types of thoughts that are running through your mind?

Initially, resting with your emotions may be incredibly uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s even impossible. However, as you fight the impulse to binge, you will understand that you do not have to. There are different options for coping. Even the most terrible emotions are just transitory. If you don’t fight them, they’ll go away shortly. You still have command. You have a choice in how you respond.

Recovery Step 3: Regain control of your urges.

The need to binge seems to strike without notice at times. Even if you are in the clutches of an uncontrolled desire, there are actions you can take to keep yourself in check.

Rather than fighting the impulse, acknowledge it and let it out. “Urge Surfing” is the term for this type of behaviour. Consider the temptation to overeat as a cresting, breaking, and dissipating ocean wave. You’ll notice that if you ride through the impulse without fighting, judging, or ignoring it, it disappears more swiftly than you anticipate.

Divert attention yourself from the situation. Anything that keeps your focus will work: going for a stroll, calling a buddy, viewing a hilarious video on the internet, and so on. The temptation to binge may fade if you become interested in anything else.

Speak with someone. When you feel the need to binge, talk to a trusted family member or friend. Discussing your struggles can help improve your mood and get rid of the impulse to binge.

Recovery Step 4: Encourage yourself to lead a healthy lifestyle.

You’ll be prepared to face the breaking balls that life will inevitably toss your way if you are strong physically, calm, and well hydrated. When you are tired and overworked, however, even the little hiccup might send you off the rocks and right to the fridge. Fitness, rest, and other good lifestyle practices will aid you in avoiding binge eating during challenging times.

Take time to exercise regularly. Physical activity improves your energy levels while also acting as a potent stress reliever. Exercise’s inherent mood-boosting benefits can aid in the reduction of comfort eating.

Make sure you get adequate sleep each night. When you do not get any sleep, your body desires sweet foods that give you a rapid surge of energy. Sleep deprivation has been linked to the development of food addiction. Getting enough sleep will help you control your appetite, lessen food cravings, and improve your mood.

While premium rehab centres in London, Manchester and Surrey are adept in providing up to date treatments and therapies, the role of family interest and involvement cannot be overstated. Because binge eaters sometimes try to conceal their symptoms and consume secretly, it can be difficult for friends and family to detect warning indications. You can’t always tell whether someone is binge eating by their appearance. While some people are obese or overweight, others stay at a healthy weight.

Finding stacks of empty packaged foods and wrapper, empty cabinets and fridges, or secret high-calorie stashes or unhealthy snacks are all warning indicators to look for. Bring up your worries if you feel your loved one has a binge eating disorder. Starting such a delicate topic can be intimidating, and the individual may refute binge eating or become furious and aggressive. However, there’s a possibility he or she will appreciate the chance to share the challenge.

Do not quit trying if the person initially rejects you; it may take a little time for your dear one to acknowledge having an issue. And keep in mind that, as unpleasant as it is to learn that someone you care about has an eating disorder, you cannot make them change. They must decide to get treatment. All through the rehab process, you can help by showing compassion, support, and love.

Aftercare and follow up is essential part of rehab and treatments provided at an upscale treatment centre in the UK. Even before availing of the services of a high-end inpatient or residential rehab, it is extremely important to help your dear ones cope with their BED. 

Be encouraging. Try and listen without passing judgement and show that you care. If your beloved falter on the path to recovery, reassure them that this does not mean they will never be able to stop binge eating.

Harsh words, lecturing, and remorse trips should be avoided. Binge eaters already feel horrible about themselves and their actions. Condemning, being enraged, or offering unreasonable demands to a binge eater will just add to the stress and exacerbate the situation. Make it apparent that you worry about the individual’s happiness and health, and that you will be available.

Urge your dear one to get medical assistance. The more an eating disorder goes undetected and untreated, the harder it will be to recover, so encourage your loved one to seek help.

Set a positive example by eating well, exercising regularly, and coping with stress without the use of food. Make no derogatory remarks regarding your own or other people’s bodies.

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