Binge Eating was officially recognized, in the 2013 Diaagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a mental disorder.
This recognition brings an opportunity for guilt to lift and treatment options to multiply. It also means you need to learn more about the fundamental issues at play so you can make wise decisions about your approach to healing and recovery.. That's what this post is about.
Binge Eating Term
I think the name created confusion. Binge eating is a behavior. So it seems, if you think linearly and logically, the solution to the porblem of binge eating is to stop.
But we humans are not linear. Behavior, especially out of control behavior, has a multitude of physical and psychological sources. And, what makes this even more complicated (great but complicated) is that our brains are not made of stone or can only be manipulated through surgery or drugs. We can play a powerful role in the reshaping of our actual physical brain (see the work of Dan Siegel, M.D. and Allan Schore, Ph.D.) through our thoughts, behaviors and relationships.
If you binge eat you will feel guilt, depression, fear and condemn yourself with punishing thoughts because you ate too much again. Food is your best friend because it comforts you as nothing else can. Food is your enemy because your eating piles on pounds that limit your opportunities for a good life in terms of health, relationships, career, sports, or lifting your children or grandchildren and dancing around the room.
Binge Eating Diagnosis Brings More Healing Opportunities
When binge-eating disorder is recognized as a diagnosable illness you can free yourself of condemning self judgement and seek treatment. Hopefully, now that it is an accepted diagnosis, you will find some insurance coverage to help with the costs.
You will still need to be discriminating, as always, about your treatment choices. Linear thinking and wishes for fast solutions to complex problems create major obstacles to thorough and lasting healing. So watch out for treatment programs of any kind that promise fast and easy answers.
Real healing from binge eating disorder involves your moving on a path that shows you how to nourish and enrich your heart and soul. As you follow that path you will heal and, over time with consistent effort, most likely change the shape and functioning of your brain. You'll have far better resources within you to cope with your challenges and enjoy your new freedoms.Note: Scientific investigation requires intense study and research on details. The details require names. The names can get complicated and multi-syllabic. But, the bottom line in this research and new findings is that
Binge eating recovery requires:
- providing a nurturing environment with someone else and for one's self
- the ability to tolerate tough situations, feel, think and respond in effective ways.
Healing Your Hungry Heart gives many examples and exercises on how to d give yourself this environment for eating disorder recovery.
Finding a clinician who will work with you on these terms gives you the opportunity to gain lasting health and freedom.
Joanna Poppink, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery. All appointments are virtual.
For a free telephone consultation e-mail her at
Author of Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder
Image by Alexandr Podvalny from Pixabay