Help for Binge Eating Disorder

Are you struggling with binge eating–eating large amounts of food and feeling ashamed and disgusted with yourself? Do you try to eat healthily and then feel like you fall off the bandwagon? Do you repeatedly diet only to find yourself in a pattern of eating uncontrollably?Binge Eating Disorder Therapy In Los Angeles, California [Image description: drawing of two adults in therapy chairs representing a potential adult seeking therapy for bulimia nervosa in Los Angeles, CA]

What is Binge-Eating Disorder?

If this feels familiar, you may have binge-eating disorder (BED), an eating disorder characterized by episodes of binge eating: eating large amounts of food in a short period of time and feeling out of control while doing so. Unlike people with bulimia, people with binge eating do not engage in additional behaviors to undo the effects of the binge. They may, however, diet between binges. It’s important to recognize that you are not failing at dieting; the diets are themselves the problem. The diagnosis of binge eating disorder was recognized more recently than anorexia and bulimia, but it can be every bit as severe and distressing.

Like all eating disorders, binge eating disorder is caused by an interaction of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Fortunately, there is an effective treatment.

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment in Los Angeles, California [Image description: purple scrabble tiles spelling BED down and "Binge Eating Disorder"]Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

People will often display some or all of the following behavioral and emotional signs:

  • Episodes of eating large amounts in a short period of time (binges)
  • Feeling out of control during binges
  • Eating rapidly during binge episodes
  • Eating in secret
  • Disgust, guilt, or shame about eating
  • Frequently dieting

People who have binge-eating disorder can be in any size body, from thin to large. Most often, restriction of food in either volume or variety is a primary driver of binge eating. It often develops following dieting and/or weight loss. Our bodies have evolved mechanisms that allowed our ancestors to survive centuries in which food was scarce: they will resist attempts to restrict food or decrease our weight by causing us to go in search of the most calorie-dense food available. this mechanism does not understand that today there is a Starbucks on every corner and that a lull in eating is not a dangerous famine.

Some people may have a pattern of not eating until later in the day and binge eating or even waking at night from sleep to eat. Some people who binge eat have night eating syndrome, which is an eating disorder plus a circadian rhythm disorder.

So bingeing is actually a protective mechanism. But it’s unpleasant and distressing when it happens. You may feel ashamed and beat yourself up. You may feel really stuck. We can help you stop the cycle of restricting and bingeing.

Who Struggles With Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. It affects people of all ethnicities, races, and genders. Binge eating disorder tends to affect mostly adults. Less commonly it occurs in children and teens. Binge eating disorder affects people of all sizes of bodies although the stereotype of someone with binge eating disorder is of a larger person. This is because it is often assumed that a person with a binge-eating disorder merely “eats too much.” However, this is not the case. As stated previously, people are naturally of varying body sizes and binge eating is most often a reaction–in any size person–to restriction or weight suppression.

Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder in Los Angeles California [Image description: purple plate holding 5 cheeseburgers] Represents a potential binge meal for a patient seeking treatment in Los Angeles California

Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder

Our treatment for binge-eating disorder is rooted in an anti-diet HAES® approach and is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the most effective psychotherapy for binge eating. CBT for binge eating has been well-studied and Terry Wilson—who mentored EDTLA’s founder, Dr. Muhlheim—was one of the developers of the treatment.

Contrary to popular belief, people with binge-eating disorder do not just overeat or eat beyond fullness all the time. It is still an eating disorder driven by restriction. Accordingly, we treat binge eating disorder by helping you identify patterns of restriction and work on eating more regularly. We usually ask clients to track their eating so we can review eating patterns and suggest some behavioral changes to meal timing, volume, and variety. We use an all-foods fit approach and help you work towards the inclusion of all foods including fear foods.

Managing Triggers for Binge Eating

Sometimes binge eating is maintained as a coping skill for managing distress. We try to help you identify potential emotional triggers for binges. Through our work, we help you appreciate your resilience while learning to develop alternative coping skills. We support you in addressing body image concerns and learning to accept whatever size body you are in. Our therapists will never agree to focus on the goal of weight loss; this is incompatible with stopping a pattern of binge eating.

While many people might be interested in pursuing medication for binge eating, we caution against the use of Vyvanse, the only medication authorized for treatment for binge eating disorder (BED). Research supports the use of psychotherapy instead.

Begin Counseling for Binge Eating Disorder in Los Angeles, CA

Help for binge eating disorder is only an email or phone call away. Psychotherapy can help you stop binge eating and improve your body image and find peace with food. Our Los Angeles, California practice has caring therapists who specialize in treating binge-eating disorder. We can provide help in person in Los Angeles or online. To start your recovery journey, follow these three steps:

  1. Contact Eating Disorder Therapy LA
  2. Speak to our practice manager who will either match you to a therapist or provide referrals
  3. Start recovering from binge-eating disorder and living your best life.

    Illustrated image of multiple dancers of various body shapes, sizes and abilities with the text "Inclusive Recovery" underneath. Anorexia Nervosa Treatment in Los Angeles, CA and online anorexia nervosa treatment throughout the state of California including Modesto, Bakersfield, Napa, Palm Springs, and beyond! Learn more about anorexia treatment, including atypical anorexia as well, here.

Other Counseling Services at Eating Disorder Therapy LA

At Eating Disorder Therapy LA, we specialize in evidence-based treatments for all eating disorders and related issues. We provide therapy for Anorexia Nervosa, Atypical Anorexia, Bulimia Nervosa, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, and Body Image.

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