Overeating from time to time is not problematic until it becomes uncontrollable. When feelings of guilt, shame, worry and depression come after eating too much, it may be addiction taking over. Binge eating disorder is treatable with a healthier relationship to food just on the horizon.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating is a more common disorder than many people think where large amounts of food are consumed in a short period of time. Even when a person is not hungry or full, binge eating may continue to provide some measure of comfort for unpleasant emotions such as stress, anxiety or depression. Reality will hit and a flood of emotions may come tumbling back stronger than ever, like waves in the ocean, which result in feelings of regret and self-loathing. It becomes a vicious cycle that feeds on itself over time.
Signs and Symptoms
With binge eating disorder, feelings of embarrassment and shame are common. A person may hide the symptoms by eating in secret. Some other signs and symptoms of binge eating include:
- Inability to stop eating or control what is being eaten
- Rapidly eating large amounts of food
- Eating when full
- Hiding or stockpiling food for later
- Feeling stress or tension only relieved when eating
- Feeling numb while binge eating
- Never feeling satisfied no matter how much is eaten
- Feelings of guilt, disgust or depression after overeating
Risk factors come in a combination of things but the following are just a few to be aware of:
- Social and cultural risk factors including comments in the home or from family and friends
- Psychological risk factors include depression combined with low self-esteem, loneliness and low body satisfaction
- Biological risk factors can contribute to binge eating including genetic mutations which may cause food addiction and low levels of serotonin
Tips to Take Back Control
Taking back control of one’s own eating and patterns of behavior which lead to binge eating is the first step in recovery. It can help to try the following also:
- Keep a food and mood diary of what was eating, what was upsetting before, during and after and what feelings rose up following the episode. It also helps to notice a pattern emerging over time.
- Learn to identify the emotion felt at the time and name it: shame, anxiety, loneliness, fear, etc
- Accept the experience is happening rather than avoid and resist
- Release self judgment and blame
- Dig deeper into the layers of what is going on
- Emotions pass by like clouds, so try to not let it be personally defining
Encouraging a loved one to seek help may feel difficult at first and he or she may stonewall or deny a problem exists but keep persisting. Lovingly support and encourage without insult or guilt trips and set a good example through managing stress without food and being healthy. Seek outside help when necessary to help the loved one get better.
Cypress Lakes Lodge supports individuals who are suffering from eating disorders. We provide a safe space to address the destructive patterns and find healthy ways of coping. It is possible to find hope in the midst of eating disorders. We will support you no matter where you are in the process. Call us to find out how we can help your journey to healing: 877-938-1577.