While the exact causes for binge eating remain elusive, researchers have come to understand that the illness results from a combination of psychological, biological, and environmental factors.
Binge eating is associated with certain mentality issues, and about half of all binge eaters have a history of depression and often complain that anger, sadness, boredom, or anxiety can spark a binging episode. Impulsive behavior or feelings of loneliness may be other factors for binge eating.
Binge eating also tends to be a familial illness. These households overemphasis the merits of food and use it as a reward or to soothe ruffled emotions. Children who are criticized about their body images or children who have been sexually abused are at risk for binge eating disorder.
Scientists are also exploring the possibility for a link between brain chemistry and eating disorders.
There is some evidence that low levels of serotonin play a role in binge eating. It is also suspected that the hypothalamus may not be sending correct messages about being full or being hungry in the brain of those people who binge.
Stop Binge Eating
There are actions a person can take to help address the problem of binge eating. The first is stress management.
A person needs to find alternative and functional methods to handle stress such as exercise, meditation, sensory relaxation, and breathing exercises.
Eat three healthy meals daily along with healthy snacks. Maintain scheduled mealtimes without deviation because skipping meals promotes binge eating at some other point in the day.
Remove the junk food temptations from the house and stop dieting. Eat nutritious foods in moderation and stop eating when you feel full.
Stay busy to combat boredom and get the sleep you need. Take naps if you need to.
Keep a food diary such as FitDay and, if it becomes necessary, seek professional help.
Therapy for the Binge Eater
A comprehensive treatment plan will be needed to address the individual needs of those who are seeking professional help for binge eating disorder.
Cognitive therapy or behavioral therapy can be employed to address a faulty though process or behavior. Counseling sessions with will help the binge eater develop a more practical attitude about food and weight, as well as adjusting the way a person approaches situations in general.
A psychiatrist may prescribe medications to address the depression and anxiety that often accompany binge eating, and nutrition counseling may be implemented to help reestablish normal eating patterns.
Prior to meeting with a professional you may wish to write down any symptoms you may be experiencing along with any important personal information. Draw up a list of medication you may be taking and ask a friend or family member if they would be willing to accompany you on your first visit. In addition, make a list of any questions you need answered.
Group therapy headed by a trained professional can explore all things ranging from eating healthy to coping with urges to binge eat. Support groups, such as Overeaters Annonymous, that are led by qualified volunteers are useful as members exchange advice and lend support to one another.
What to read next: Help for Binge Eating
HelpGuide.org - http://www.helpguide.org/mental/binge_eating_disorder.htm - accessed 8/8/12
WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/binge-eating-disorder/binge-eating-disorder-causes - accessed 8/8/12
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Published On: August 23, 2012