• Programs for Eating Disorders

    Binge Eating and Compulsive Over-Eating

    We Can Help You Recover From Binge Eating!


    We offer binge eating and treatment for emotional over-eating as well as treatment for other eating disorders.

    In order to receive help for Binge Eating the first step is to contact our Intake Coordinator at 314-289-9411. Our Intake Coordinator will match you to one of our clinicians who will evaluate your concerns and make recommendations to you. Your insurance coverage will also be reviewed by the intake coordinator.

    The first step is an important one and only you can place the call.

    Binge Eating Disorder  (BED)

    Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder, affecting 3.5% of females and 2% of males in the United States.  Individuals with BED binge eat, as seen in Bulimia Nervosa, but do not rely upon recurrent compensatory behaviors like purging, fasting or exercising. Binge eating is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as eating significantly more than most people would eat under the same conditions in a specified period of time.  Bingeing is associated with a subjective feeling of loss of control.  Binge eating episodes are associated with often eating so fast that food is not tasted by the individual bingeing. Bingeing may also be eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable fullness and eating when one is not physically hungry.  In order to meet criteria for Binge Eating Disorder (BED), binge eating episodes are recurrent episodes that occur at least once a week for a period of 3 months.  However, many individuals we treat report binge eating over a period of many months or years and may binge eat multiple times a week or even daily. They are markedly distressed by the binge eating and often have erratic eating patterns. iStock_13095850XSmall_ED_BingeEating

    For example, individuals may fear or avoid foods due to loss of control over eating foods when available.  Although many people over eat and sometimes may binge on foods, recurrent binge eating is a severe psychiatric disorder that is tends to be associated with other significant mental health concerns.  Binge eating is also commonly associated with intense feelings of self-loathing, guilt, shame, and depression.  Thus, binge eating is often secretive and may be associated with withdrawal from relationships and increased social isolation.

    Individuals who suffer with BED may share many of the same concerns about weight and appearance that individuals with Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa do. It has been suggested that many people with BED may binge as a way of coping with unpleasant feelings or stress.  Bingeing appears to serve a function of blocking out aversive self-awareness and is often described as a mindless, dissociative experience that is followed by extreme remorse and shame.  Binge eating is often associated with depression and may appear to cycle or be associated with mood swings, although binge eating may occur without mood disturbance.

    Similar to Binge Eating Disorder, individuals who engage in emotional and compulsive over-eating tend to eat when they are not hungry and for emotional reasons.  They tend to over-eat throughout the day and over-value their relationship to food, but may not feel a loss of control over eating that is experienced during binges.

    While BED can have a negative effect on how someone feels about themselves, another serious long-term consequence is weight gain. Most individuals with BED are not obese, but are likely to gain weight faster than their peers who do not binge eat. Thus, one long-term consequence of untreated BED is obesity, which is associated with a number of medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

    Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Compulsive/Emotional Over-Eating

    The treatment of BED is similar to treatment for Bulimia Nervosa. Individuals with BED may benefit from weight loss but dieting tends to worsen the condition.  Therefore, the first step is to receive treatment for BED, which may include establishing a healthy eating pattern as one treatment component.  Common psychological issues include an exaggerated emphasis on being thin, dissatisfaction with one’s body, the use of food to cope with negative emotions, and unsatisfactory interpersonal relationships.  Just as with Bulimia Nervosa, anti-depressants have been found to be useful in conjunction with Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy (CBT), Enhanced CBT for Eating Disorders, Dialectical-Behavioral psychotherapy (DBT) adapted for treating binge eating, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).

    If you suspect that you or someone you know is struggling with Binge Eating Disorder (BED), contact us at 314-289-9411.

    Frequently, people are hesitant to make the first step. Please know that our Institute is nationally recognized and our clinicians are ready to work with you.

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