When you consume a large amount of food in a short amount of time way past the point of fullness, you are bingeing on food. Bingeing is also characterized by wanting to escape from overwhelming emotions, feeling numb, and feeling remorse or guilt afterwards.
Bingeing is also known as compulsive eating or emotional eating and when done for a prolonged period of time, can contribute to obesity and other health issues. Binge eating disorder is often accompanied by other psychological problems as well, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, impulsivity, and personality disorders.
Binge eating disorder is characterized by distinct overeating episodes called binges. Typically, binges involve consuming unusually large amounts of food for a single meal. Calories may range from 3,000 to 15,000 or more.
This is accompanied by a “feeling” of being out of control, or feeling compelled to do it. Anticipating a binge can involve positive feelings such as excitement or relief. Likewise the binge itself can be a temporary respite from negative emotions. But, for many, the times before and during binges can also consist of negative emotions, similar to those that follow the binge.
Binges are often followed by feelings of shame, embarrassment (although usually binge eaters engage in the behavior alone), guilt, anxiety, etc.
The American Psychiatric Association includes Binge Eating Disorder in the Appendix as a syndrome in need of further study. It may be the most common eating disorder in the US, with estimates as high as 4%.
There is not consensus regarding the etiology of binge eating disorder. There is a great likelihood that genes and other biological factors, such as neurotransmitters or hormones play a role, but the amounts of influence are yet to be determined.
In addition various situational and behavioral events are likely involved. Periods of calorie restriction (typical dieting), stress, interpersonal strife, and deficiencies in modulating emotions and other behavioral coping strategies put people at greater risk of developing the disorder. Binge episodes can be triggered by various situational, emotional, or interpersonal variables. Some of the most common include boredom, anger, anxiety, stress, loneliness, rejection, disappointment, etc.
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There are a variety of different types of therapy that New York Behavioral Health therapists specialize in:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the approach our NYC therapists seek to reduce the intensity and frequency of a client’s emotional pain, suffering, and self-defeating behaviors. CBT can help clients to cultivate skills leading to goal achievement and life satisfaction by assessing and treating:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is what’s considered a “third-wave” type of therapy developed after CBT. ACT can help you learn how to drop the struggle with any negative thoughts you have, rather than trying to push them away or defeat them. By building distance between yourself and your thoughts and emotions, your symptoms will likely naturally decrease.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy was originally developed by Marsha Linehan for the treatment of individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but has since been shown to be effective therapy for many concerns.
DBT contains four treatment modes that aim to address five functions. The four treatment modes are individual therapy, group skills training, phone coaching on an as-needed basis, and therapist consultation meetings.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). It has been applied to various mental disorders, e.g., anxiety, anger, depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, etc. REBT was created by Dr. Albert Ellis. Al Ellis was originally trained as a psychoanalyst and began practicing psychoanalysis in New York City. After working with his patients for some time, he became dissatisfied with the lack of progress they were making. At this point he decided to return to his long-term passion, philosophy, to see if the wisdom there could benefit clients.
He developed the ABC model of emotional disturbance largely based on the work of philosophers who emphasized the role of beliefs and thinking in influencing emotional states. The REBT ABC model is an acronym that stands for Activating Events, Beliefs, and Consequences. Consequences include both emotional consequences and behavioral consequences. REBT therefore conceptualizes emotional disturbances like anxiety, as a result of the combination of an activating event and one’s beliefs about the activating event, the self, life and the future.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven effective in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder.
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