Can binge eating disorder be cured?
Have you ever eaten an entire tub of ice cream in one sitting? Or polished off a bag of chips without realizing it? If so, don’t feel bad – we’ve all been there. But for individuals with binge eating disorder (BED), these episodes are much more frequent and severe. So, can binge eating disorder be cured? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
First things first: let’s clarify what BED actually is. Binge eating disorder is a type of eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive food consumption within short periods of time (aka stuffing your face). People with BED often experience feelings of guilt and shame after their binges (and rightly so) but feel powerless to stop themselves from repeating the behavior again later on.
Unlike bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa (other common types of disordered eating), people with BED do not typically engage in compensatory behaviors such as purging, fasting, or over-exercising afterward. However, that doesn’t make the condition any less serious.
If you think you may have BED (or maybe just really love pizza), it’s important to seek help from your healthcare practitioner who will assess your overall health status and provide appropriate support.
The diagnostic criteria for BED include:
- Recurrent episodes of binge-eating: consuming large amounts of food within a discrete period
- Feeling out-of-control during the episode
- Experiencing distress about having engaged in the behavior
- At least once per week occurrence over three months
- No regular compensatory behaviors like vomiting occurring after
In addition to diagnosing the condition itself, practitioners will also explore underlying factors such as mental health issues or chronic illnesses that may contribute to disordered thinking around food (can’t blame everything on Grandma’s cookies).
The Impact of BED
BED can have a significant impact on an individual’s physical, emotional and social wellbeing (parties just aren’t as fun when you’re not the only one eating) and is associated with a range of health risks including obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure (AKA adulting), sleep apnea and depression.
Additionally, individuals with binge eating disorder may experience difficulty in their personal relationships or at work due to perceived judgment or actual discrimination from others about their weight or food-related behaviors.
Treatment Options for BED
One good thing about BED is that it can be treated using a variety of approaches (yay!). The best treatment option will depend on each person’s specific needs but here are some methods commonly used:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
As the name suggests, cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on changing how we think and behave surrounding food by teaching people coping techniques such as mindfulness exercises which help them develop better awareness around what they’re feeling – rather than just turning to ice cream cones all the time – giving them greater control over their impulses. Some therapies aim to identify any triggering moments too.
2. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
DBT offers similar support structures to CBT while also incorporating a focus on regulating emotions through mindfulness practices so that individuals are more equipped to prevent negative thoughts spiraling into impulsive behavior patterns like binges. This technique might include developing skills in interpersonal interactions too so that someone’s experiences overall improve.
3. Interpersonal psychotherapy
This form of therapy aims to address underlying issues related to emotional sensitivity such as low self-esteem or anxiety by helping people understand themselves better; identifying those parts of your life where things become difficult could lead down different paths when trying new behaviours out From there goals may be set.
Treatment often combines some combination of these methods —as well as medical interventions such as medication or surgery (to limit the size of your stomach to reduce how much you eat). However, whatever form of treatment is used it isn’t always easy, and recovery won’t occur overnight.
Can BED Be Cured?
So now let’s get down to the real question: can binge eating disorder be cured? The short answer is no – but hear me out before binging on that tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
BED is a chronic condition (yet another addition to society’s list of never-ending maladies). Even after successful treatment, individuals may still experience occasional lapses in impulse control around food if under significant stress or facing other challenging circumstances (like having too many plans with friends who love brunch bar crawls).
However, this doesn’t mean that people with binge eating disorder can’t live full and happy lives (now put down those cookies). After all; learning techniques from different therapies designed for this purpose as well healthier ways to cope with impulses will allow for more sustainable long-term changes through which these behaviours could happen very rarely at worst.
A Positive Outlook
Although there are no guarantees when it comes to recovery from any sort of disordered behavior (not even deep reflection on what life would look like without Nutella) bringing our focus back onto supportive treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and family-based interventions are just some examples proving we should remain hopeful.
At the end of the day, whoever it might be— loved ones affected by BED or someone going through their own struggles —it’s important that they know there are options available and hope for change despite however small. It may take time, trial-and-error but moving forward can mean regaining control, confidence social interactions amongst others so keep pushing yourself forward against hurdles ahead whether big or small!