Many of us have had a moment when we’ve eaten a bit too much. Perhaps it was at a big holiday meal, at a party or when we were stressed. This happens to everyone, but a binge eating disorder describes a condition where people feel little control over how much they eat and when. In fact, they often feel like that can’t stop eating—even if they wanted to.
People living with a binge eating disorder tend to feel a strong sense of shame when they overeat. Luckily, recovery and healing are possible and require you to develop a new, healthier relationship with food. Here are some different ways that you can help heal a binge eating disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often one of the first treatment methods for binge eating disorders. CBT is typically a short-term, goal-oriented form of therapy, focused on shifting an individual’s mindset towards food and helping them develop healthier problem solving skills. It also helps individuals to establish healthy routines and eating patterns to restore their relationship with food.
Various studies have demonstrated that CBT is an effective way of addressing binge eating disorders. One of the benefits is that it can even be successful through a self-help method. This is beneficial if cost, location or fear of stigma are issues when seeking therapy.
That being said, while CBT helps to adjust a person’s interaction with food in the long-term, it does not typically result in a lower weight or Body Mass Index which, if some people have experienced excessive weight gain as a result of their eating disorder, can be a concern.
Eating Mindfulness and Meditation
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Mindfulness and meditation are excellent ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Some research has shown that it might also be an effective way to manage a binge eating disorder.
One of the significant ways that a binge eater disorder affects an individual is in the sense of shame that is often felt, which can even lead to further eating. Mindfulness helps a person to focus on a present moment and accept their thoughts and feelings as they are without judgement. It also helps a person bring awareness into their body which might help them to listen to their body’s signs of not being hungry or feeling full. As a result, one of the positive benefits of using mindfulness and meditation to address a binge eating disorder is that it helps individuals tune into their bodies again while also addressing associated feelings of shame, stress and anxiety.
On the other hand, this method of recovery is still in exploratory phases and is best when paired with another form of therapy. Similar to CBT, it alone will not result in weight loss if that is an issue.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of CBT that is sometimes used to assist those living with a binge eating disorder. Specifically, DBT focuses on helping an individual understand and become aware of their triggers. From there they’re encouraged to develop healthy coping mechanisms for when these triggers arise and then put them into practice when necessary. In other words, DBT focuses on the negative emotions that a person is struggling to deal with in a healthy way.
The benefits of DBT are that they help an individual develop positive coping strategies, rather than turning to food. It may not work on its own to restore a healthy relationships with food, however.
All in all, it’s important to remember that when living with a binge eating disorder, treatment and recovery is possible. Consider any one of the above methods for healing a binge eating disorder or try them in combination. Remember that there are mental health professionals that can help guide you and offer suggestions, too.
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