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Online Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder

Phi Atratus
  • Jan 24, 2022
  • 6 min read
watching movie at night and eating

Do you find yourself eating non-stop even when you’re not hungry? All the eating seems to provide a sense of relief but soon enough is overpowered by a sense of shame, and you feel like you have lost all control. This is how binge eating disorder (BED) feels like. Binge eating disorder is one of several eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia nervosa.

On occasion, almost everyone overeats. Excessive overeating that starts to feel out of control and becomes a regular event, on the other hand, turns into a binge eating disorder for some people. A binge eating disorder may make you feel embarrassed about your eating habits and may promise to stop. But you are so compelled that you cannot fight back the temptations and continue binge eating. Reports suggest that only 43.6% of people suffering from binge eating disorders will receive treatment.

However, receiving treatment for eating disorders has become easier these days. One can always opt for online therapy for binge eating disorders to effectively address their concerns. If you wish to know how to deal with binge eating disorders, continue reading further. 

The Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Though symptoms of binge eating disorders overlap with other eating disorders, some notable differences set them apart from anorexia and bulimia nervosa. 

The following are the symptoms of binge eating disorders: 

  • Eating much faster than usual, usually in a brief period
  • Eating until you become uncomfortably full
  • Eating a lot even when you are not hungry
  • Having loss of control over what is eaten and its quantity
  • Binges can be scheduled and involve buying particular binge food products and choosing a time
  • Eating alone or in private due to embarrassment about the amount of food devoured
  • During the binge, you may experience a confused state of mind
  • Inability to remember what was eaten after the binging
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, or disgust as a result of binging
  • Disturbance in body image

Though people suffering from binge eating disorder experience guilt and shame the way people suffering from other eating disorders do, they do not do the following: 

  • Fast or go on diets 
  • Indulge in excessive exercising 
  • Purge via self-induced vomiting or abuse laxatives and enema

What Causes Binge Eating Disorders?

Binge eating disorder is a sort of an expressive disorder, hinting at the deeper psychological problems a person may have. Although what causes binge eating disorder is unknown, multiple factors such as genetics, gender, body image, body size, and other mental disorders play a role. Let’s quickly go over them.

1. Genetics and gender

People who suffer from BED may be more sensitive to dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. There is also convincing evidence that the disorder is heritable. 

Reports suggest that binge eating disorder affects 3.5% of women and 2% of men in the United States during their lifetime, making it 3 times more prevalent than anorexia and bulimia combined. These numbers suggest that women are more susceptible to binge eating disorders. This can be due to the underlying biological differences between the two.

2. Body image and size

People with binge eating disorders have higher general body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem. Several factors play a role in these, such as excessive concern about body weight and shape, body-related checking and avoidance behavior, body size misinterpretation, and body-related cognitive bias. 

Studies suggest that people with BED who also report a preoccupation with body weight and shape have higher eating disorder pathology, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of depression. Moreover, most men and women with binge eating disorders engage in body checking and avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding wearing tight clothes or pinching areas of their own body to check for body fat.

3. Prevalence of other mental health issues

Studies suggest that approximately 80% of people suffering from binge eating disorder meet the criteria for at least one of either depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. 

What Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Should I Consider?

Binge eating disorder is associated with significant social, physical, emotional, and mental risks.

It can result in poor quality of life and issues at work or school due to impaired functioning. Impairment in functioning can also lead to personal and social problems, often resulting in social isolation. 

Since binge eating is highly related to obesity and body image issues, it can contribute to several health issues. These may include heart problems, type 2 diabetes, acid reflux, heartburn, and sleep-related breathing disorders. 

For women, binge eating disorders can affect fertility, increase complications in conceiving, and cause menstrual irregularities. 

As for related mental disorders, nearly 97% of people hospitalized for eating disorders have other mental illnesses, such as major depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse like alcoholism and drugs. 

Though these risks are significant and detrimental, you can learn how to recover from binge eating disorders via online counseling and medications. 

However, medication alone is not always enough to treat binge eating disorder and therapy is needed as well.

What Can I Expect From Online Therapy for Binge Eating Disorders?

Online therapy for binge eating disorders can effectively teach you how to deal with the urge to binge and overcome this harmful habit. The therapist aims to help you control and improve your eating habits. The approach towards binge eating disorders is often multidisciplinary and tailor-made to each person's needs. Some of the binge eating disorder treatments are discussed below.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

The most effective evidence-based treatment for eating disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). According to Fairburn, CBT-enhanced treatment results in a 50–65% recovery rate among people suffering from an eating disorder. The recovery rate for BED, in particular, is 54%.

CBT therapy employs many techniques that assist you in comprehending the interaction of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and developing strategies to change counterproductive thinking and behavior to improve your mood and functioning. 

The core problem, obsession with body shape or weight, can interact to produce eating disorder symptoms, such as skipping meals, eating a small amount, and avoiding forbidden foods, resulting in weight loss and/or binge eating. Low weight can lead to malnutrition as well as binge eating. Binge eating can result in intense guilt and shame, as well as a renewed attempt to diet. CBT aims to change the thinking pattern underlying these behaviors.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for binge eating disorders includes challenging dietary rules, education about body shape, introducing food records, and more.

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Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), a more intense form of CBT, blends psychotherapy and skill-building activities that aid in emotional regulation and management. Each therapy session validates clients and assists them in addressing their most pressing issues. Clients can use DBT to identify and confront triggers, which can help them get started on the road to recovery.  

Emotional regulation ensures that clients can use their coping skills to manage stress levels and remain recovered over time. Dialectical behavior therapy for binge eating disorder also helps identify dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors.

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)

IPT is a type of therapy that focuses on your interpersonal difficulties. It usually follows a three-step process. Step 1 entails identifying the problem and deciding on a focus area. In step 2, the therapist encourages the client to take the lead in facilitating change in their interpersonal relationships. The therapist's role entails keeping the client informed of the timeline and centered on the problematic areas, clarifying their issues, and fostering change. Step 3 focuses on maintaining interpersonal gains and avoiding relapse.

Why Online Therapy?

Online therapy for binge eating disorders can help you deal with the symptoms, tackle the root of the problem, and drastically improve your mental health. Online therapy is not so different from in-person therapy. Some of the advantages of online therapy are: 

1. Easy to start

Online therapy allows you to quickly begin your therapy at your convenience and get the help you need. 

2. Anonymity

Unlike in-person therapy, you don’t need to reveal your identity if you do not wish to. Sure the therapists will ask you about yourself and your history to develop an effective line of treatment, but these questions will be solely treatment-related. If you are not comfortable letting others know about your mental health, online therapy can be an ideal choice. 

3. Convenience

Not everyone can attend sessions regularly every week or month. Online counseling is ideal for those with super rigid schedules. Moreover, if you are constantly traveling, it is nearly impossible to be present for in-person sessions. In contrast, you will only need a device and an internet connection to attend your online therapy session. 

4. Easy cancellation

Online therapy makes booking appointments and canceling them easy. Furthermore, if you need to see your therapist immediately, you can schedule an appointment in seconds.

5. More communication

Online therapy does not restrict you to a 45-minute session. You can be in touch with your online therapist and address your concerns over texts as well. Your therapist will reply to you promptly, which means that seeking help and getting it is faster and easier. 

Bottom Line

Undiagnosed binge eating disorders can cause permanent damage to your mental and physical health. You should seek professional help at the earliest possible moment. We at DoMental ensure to do all it takes to assist you in your journey to mental well-being. Our licensed therapists are the best at what they do. At DoMental, therapy is affordable, convenient, flexible, and, most importantly, tailor-made for you.

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