Do you think you may struggle with binge eating disorder? Do any of the following sound familiar to you?

  • A history of significant weight gains and losses (person may or may not be “overweight”)
  • Frequently feeling out of control with your eating/inability to stop eating when full (3 or more times/week)
  • Frequent eating with distraction (TV, computer, reading)
  • Feelings of guilt or shame about overeating
  • Others needs often/always come before your own
  • Powerful inner critic voice
  • History of trauma or loss
  • Family history of depression, OCD, anxiety, alcoholism, or other addictions
  • Significant overfocus on weight and body image
  • Difficulty saying “no” and setting limits
  • Significant concern and stress over weight/food issues

If these patterns are familiar to you, you may be dealing with binge eating disorder.

Binge eating disorder has a variety of causes. It seems genetics, neurobiology, psychology, dieting, and cultural pressures to be thin all can play a role. So, too, may a history of loss or trauma.

The behaviors of binge eating disorder vary, too. For some folks, binges happen every day. For others, grazing or episodes of binge eating followed by periods of dieting and restriction are more common. The causes and the patterns the symptoms take vary for everyone. The bottom line is: to really make changes to these patterns, treatment is vital. I can speak from experience.

Thankfully, treatment is available in more and more outpatient clinics, as well as residential and inpatient centers than ever before. For most people, outpatient treatment will include individual therapy. Outpatient treatment may also include nutrition counseling, movement classes, and some types of art or expressive therapies.

The very good news: recovery is absolutely possible for most people.

And, while the journey takes courage, time, and work, help is there for you when you’re ready. I have found, in working with folks with binge eating disorder for 20 years, that we are a very insightful, resilient, creative group of people.

You have all the strengths you need for recovery, right now. After all, binge eating disorder typically is rooted in ways to cope with the world around you when other tools were not available.

Only a pretty resourceful, powerful person can do that.

–Amy Pershing, LMSW, ACSW