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Binge-Eating Disorder is characterized by compulsive overeating, and the individuals who suffer from the disorder are unable to control their behavior, continuing to eat well after their appetite is satisfied. People with the disorder will eat even though they’re not hungry. In addition, individuals who binge eat don’t purge following eating and can be within the normal weight, a little overweight, or obese for the recommendations for their age and height.

The development of the disorder is estimated to be in late adolescence or early adulthood. The person with Binge-Eating Disorder is found to have a simultaneous condition (comorbidity) pertaining to self-esteem issues.

DSM-5 (307.51 F50.8) Criteria for Binge-Eating Disorder

To diagnose Binge-Eating Disorder, an individual must meet all of the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Repeated episodes of binge-eating shown by typically consuming an abnormally large amount of food in a short amount of time compared to what others might eat in the same time frame under the same or similar circumstances. Experiencing a loss of control over eating while the episode occurs.

The episodes include at least three of the following things:

  • *Consuming food faster than normal.
  • *Consuming food until uncomfortably full.
  • *Consuming large quantities of food when not feeling hungry.
  • *Consuming food alone because of embarrassment.
  • *Feeling disgusted.
  • *Depressed
  • *Guilt after eating a large quantity of food.
  • The individual has a great amount of distress about the binge-eating.
  • The binge-eating episodes average at least once a week for three months.
  • The behavior isn’t like that of bulimia nervosa, where people purge in order to make up for overeating.

Other symptoms can include feeling numb while bingeing—as if the person is not really there and on “auto-pilot,” as well as being desperate to control weight and the eating habits.

Causes of DSM-5 (307.51 F50.8) Binge-Eating Disorder

There are an assortment of things that cause Binge-Eating Disorder to develop, including genes, emotions and experience.

Social pressure to be thin can compound the feelings that cause emotional eating. Some parents unintentionally “set the stage” for binge eating by using food as a way to comfort, dismiss or reward children. For example, if the child gets all of his homework finished by a certain time, the parent will reward him with an extra helping of dessert. Or, if a parent is in the middle of a work project and needs to concentrate, he may offer the child a favorite snack if he keeps quiet.
When children receive recurrent, critical comments about their weight and bodies, they may feel sensitive to the remarks and vulnerable.

Depression and binge eating are powerfully connected. Many binge eaters are depressed or have been prior. Other people may have difficulties with impulse control, as well as handling and expressing their feelings. Low self-esteem, loneliness and unhappiness about the body may be contributors to binge eating.

Biological abnormalities can add to binge eating. The hypothalamus—the part of the brain that controls the appetite—may not be sending accurate messages about being hungry and full. In addition, low levels of serotonin– the brain chemical that’s responsible for maintaining mood balance and, in the case of a deficit of serotonin, can lead to depression—can play a part in compulsive eating.

Treatment for DSM-5 (307.51 F50.8) Binge-Eating Disorder

People who suffer from Binge-Eating Disorder can have a successful prognosis if the disorder is realized and addressed. The most important part of success is for an individual to take the advice of the doctor and/or therapist while being committed to changing his habits and behaviors.

The biggest hurdle is to ensure weight loss is at a healthy rate and adopting new eating habits.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy results in much success at helping to curb binging. Therapy is helpful in setting regular eating patterns and working with the individual to moderately restrain his eating by using an assortment of strategies. In addition, therapists encourage the person to have a realistic weight loss goal and to control their eating, as well as find out the emotional and psychological causes that caused the self-destructive behavior.

Breaking the Binge-Eating Cycle

The following may be helpful to remember when dealing with Binge-Eating Disorder.

  • Avoid temptation. You’re more apt to overeat if you have snack foods and desserts stored in the house. Clean out the cabinets, cupboards and the refrigerator—as well as hiding places–of favorite binging foods.
  • Listen to the body. It’s important to recognize physical and emotional hunger. If you feel that you want to eat, but you just had dinner a short time ago and don’t feel that pang in your stomach, you’re probably not hungry. Instead, wait a little while to give the craving a while to pass.
  • Focus on the food you’re eating. Sometimes while people binge, they feel like they’re in a trance. They don’t enjoy what they’re eating—they may hardly notice it. Slow the eating down, and make sure to taste the flavors.
  • Eat on a regular schedule. It’s important not to wait to eat until you’re famished. You’ll only overeat that way. Make sure to have scheduled times for meals. Don’t skip meals, because that will cause you to be enticed to snack later on.
  • Don’t eat out of boredom. Opt to do something other than eating when you’re bored. Visit with a friend, read a book, write in a journal, garden or take an invigorating walk.
  • Don’t avoid all fat. It might sound like the opposite of what you’ve heard or even been taught, but dietary fat can actually be helpful in keeping you from overeating and gaining weight. Try to include healthy fat at each mealtime in order to help you feel full.
  • Forget about cheat days. Some people designate one day of the week as a day when they can “cheat”—the only day where they allow themselves to eat anything they want. Don’t follow this path, because it will only contribute to the binge eating. When you only let yourself have the forbidden foods during that one day, you’re more apt to overeat and eat foods you don’t even really care for because they’re “not allowed” any other day.

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