Treatment For Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is said to affect more than 4 million people in the U.S and nearly 40% of those seeking treatment for weight loss. It is the most common eating disorder we see today.

Are you worried you’re struggling with Binge Eating? Click here to take our Binge Eating Assessment.

Signs Of A Binge Eating Problem

People struggling with binge eating might:

  • binge eat at least once a week for 3 months –
    • This is categorized as eating a larger amount of food than normal during a short period of time (two hours)
  • eat much more quickly than other people do
  • eat until they feel uncomfortably full
  • eat large amounts of food even when they’re not physically hungry
  • eat alone because they’re embarrassed by what or how much they’re eating
  • feel upset about their binge eating (e.g., ashamed or guilty)
  • feel a lack of control while eating (feeling like you can’t stop eating or control what or how much you are eating)

Why Do Some People Binge Eat?

Most experts believe it takes a combination of factors to lead to episodes of binge eating.

When we turn to eating when we’re feeling anxious or sad, or any number of emotional reasons, this eating can lead to a binge, where we eat much more food than we need in a short amount of time and often feel worse afterwards. Feelings of shame, guilt, and sadness often take over after a binge and seem to just make the situation worse.

These can be things like emotional distress, environmental factors, eating patterns and genetic factors. Some people may be more prone to overeating for biological reasons. The prefrontal cortex, hypothalamus and hormones like cortisol, dopamine and serotonin might all contribute to triggers for binge eating episodes.

Eating for emotional reasons is a pretty normal event. Think Thanksgiving, Birthdays and other celebratory events. These are all examples of eating for emotional reasons – it feels good to celebrate together. But when we turn to eating when we’re feeling anxious or sad, or any number of emotional reasons, this eating can lead to a binge, where we eat much more food than what we need in a short amount of time, and often we feel worse afterwards. Feelings of shame and guilt and sadness often take over after a binge and seem to just make the situation worse.

Biological factors like dopamine and cortisol release are also shown to contribute to the brain telling you to “eat more food”. Emerging research even suggests that the more we eat foods high in added sugar and fat, the more our pre-frontal cortex (the decision maker in our brain) tells us we need those foods.

Clearly, this is a complex situation that deserves a comprehensive solution.

How Do I Know If I’m Bingeing Or Just Eating Too Much?

If you’ve ever eaten too much turkey at Thanksgiving or too much birthday cake at your party, you know what being uncomfortably full feels like. That is considered overeating. It’s not unusual to overeat from time to time. Most people do. But overeating becomes problematic when it becomes a pattern of behavior that increases over time. Overeating puts you at risk for obesity and a number of health concerns associated with carrying extra weight.

But binge eating is different from overeating. People with a binge eating problem regularly eat much more food than they need, at least once a week or more. They will often eat quickly, eat until they are uncomfortable, and eat when they are not hungry. They don’t stop when they are full will often engage in something else while mindlessly eating such as watching TV or playing computer games.

After eating, people who binge eat feel bad about themselves. They will usually feel powerless to stop the binge. They feel guilty and ashamed about what they just did. They feel they may lack control and are often very unhappy about their weight, shape and size.

Getting Help

it may be hard for people with binge eating problems to reach out for help because there is often a stigma attached to overeating and being overweight. Sometimes people don’t seek help for binge eating until they’re adults trying to lose weight. But getting professional help as a teen or adolescent can really help!

People with eating disorders need professional help because problems like binge eating can be caused by a complex set of issues including emotional distress, biological factors and environmental patterns. It takes a team of professionals to understand each individuals unique set of concerns, and Wellspring has the right professionals to help. Our team of doctors, counselors, and nutrition experts will work together to understand you as an individual and design a treatment program that’s right for you.

Part of dealing with a binge eating disorder is learning how to have a healthy relationship with food. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been widely touted for helping people understand their patterns that get in the way of success. Wellspring’s trained coaches will help you learn healthy ways of coping with emotions, thoughts, stress, and other things that might contribute to binge eating episodes.

Wellspring Has A Binge Eating Program

Some of our campers have learned to cope with struggles in their life through binge eating. We recognize that binge eating is a serious problem, and have a trained clinical team to help. Our Binge Eating Program is an optional program for those who have been diagnosed through a comprehensive assessment by our clinical team. In this program, our campers receive specialized services designed specifically to treat the symptoms and issues around binge eating. Our team of doctors, counselors, and nutrition experts work together to design a treatment program that’s right for you.

Some of the key principles you will work on at Wellspring are:

  • Body Acceptance
  • Stress Coping Skills
  • Assertiveness Training
  • Mindful Eating
  • Binge Analysis Training
  • Appetite Awareness Training

Does Insurance Cover This Treatment?

There is a good possibility that your insurance will cover binge eating treatment. We encourage you to call and talk with one of our clinical specialists to determine if the Binge Eating Program at Wellspring is right for you.


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