Mental Health

How to Help Someone Who Has Binge Eating Disorder

How to Help Someone Who Has Binge Eating Disorder

Key Takeaways

  • The leading eating disorders are binge eating disorder, anorexia, and bulimia.
  • What causes binge eating is still not clear, although just like the majority of eating disorders, it’s a means of coping with feelings of low self-esteem and unhappiness.
  • Binge eating can lead to severe psychological complications like anxiety and depression disorders.

A severe eating disorder, binge eating disorder is a condition in which you regularly eat abnormally large quantities of food and have no control over the urge and event.

Everyone can attest to the fact that it is normal to overeat at times such as on holiday parties and special occasions. However, certain individuals overeat excessively and have no power to control it, and as this becomes a frequent occurrence, these people are considered as suffering from binge eating disorder (BED).

When you have binge eating disorder, you may feel embarrassed because of the excessive eating and swear to stop. However, you feel a lot of pressure so that you are unable to counter the urges and go on binge eating. Treatment will help if you suffer from binge-eating disorder.

 

Forms of Eating Disorders

The leading eating disorders are binge eating disorder, anorexia, and bulimia.

Anorexia: Individuals suffering from anorexia starve themselves because they dread getting fat. They do not perceive themselves are thin despite being emaciated or underweight. Apart from restricting calories, individuals with this condition may regulate their weight through purging, taking diet pills, or exercise.

Bulimia: This is a condition in which there is a destructive sequence of bingeing and purging. After an episode of binge eating, individuals with this disorder take severe measures to eliminate the excess calories. For them to prevent weight gain, they induce vomiting, use laxatives, exercise, or fast.

Binge eating disorder: Individuals with this disorder compulsively overeat, eat rapidly, and consume many calories within a short span of time.  Despite feeling ashamed and guilty because of these usually secret binges, they feel unable to control their behavior and end up eating even when overstuffed.

 

Causes of Binge Eating 

What causes binge eating is still not clear, although just like the majority of eating disorders, it is a means of coping with feelings of low self-esteem and unhappiness.

The following are factors that may increase one's chances of developing the complicated problem of binge eating:

  • Lack of confidence and low self-esteem
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Anger, stress, loneliness, or boredom
  • Being dissatisfied with one's body and feeling the urge to be thin
  • Traumatic or stressful events in the past
  • A family record of eating disorders
  • Differences in hormone levels generated by your brain compared with individuals who do not binge-eat

One can resort to binge eating after a strict diet, especially one in which you forewent meals, cut down on some kinds of food, or didn’t consume sufficient food. These are harmful methods of losing weight that expose you to a higher risk of binge eating afterward.

 

Risks of Binge Eating 

Binge eating can lead to severe psychological complications like anxiety and depression disorders. These feelings can worsen over time as the individual continues to binge-eat.

Weight gain is the leading physical effect of binge eating, which can result to obesity. This exposes you to several related physical health disorders, some of which are fatal.

They include the following:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is a disorder that leads to swelling of and pain in the joints
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol: These conditions makes you prone to cardiovascular diseases like stroke and coronary heart disorder.
  • Diabetes: This is a chronic disease that leads to high levels of blood sugar.
  • Certain forms of cancer: This includes bowel cancer and breast cancer.

If you suspect that you have binge eating disorder, seeking help is important. The reason for this is that you may require support to assist you in tackling your physical and psychological problems.

 

How to Assist Someone Suffering from BED

It can be difficult to show love to someone with binge eating disorder. As much as you should support them, you also should avoid being extremely involved since this can be counterproductive. The following tips will assist you in finding ways to be involved without getting overwhelmed:

  • Get prepared: Being prepared and finding out as much as you can about eating disorders is the best thing you can do when helping someone suffering from binge eating disorder. The individual may be having high levels of shame, anxiety, embarrassment, denial, and guilt, or may not accept that they have an eating disorder.

It is crucial to consider this and prepare yourself to deal with the individual if they react with denial or anger. Denial or angry feelings do not imply that the person does not have an eating disorder.

  • Persuade them to seek professional assistance: Treat BED becomes more challenging the longer it goes on without being treated, so encourage the person you care about to visit a health professional immediately.
  • Be a listener who is supportive: You show them that you care if you listen to them without judging. If they slip and go on to binge-eat while in the process of recovering, tell them that this doesn’t imply that they cannot become better.
  • Do not criticize; rather, be supportive: Speak only positively always. Individuals suffering from BED already feel bad about themselves. You would be working against the recovery efforts if you were to use negative comments.
  • Keep off lectures, insults, or guilt trips: You will worsen the situation and increase the stress of the person you care for if you become frustrated, lecture, or and give ultimatums to them. Instead, show that you care about their happiness and health and that you will stand by them during the entire recovery process.
  • Lead by example: You will be helping the person you care for if you practice healthy eating habits, exercise, and manage stress without using food. Just like all individuals suffering from eating disorders, people with BED require healthy examples. You will be helping their recovery best if you are healthy both in body and mind.
  • Don’t act as the food police: As much as you may see it as motivated by good intentions, monitoring what they eat does not help them recover. Telling them what to eat or the quantity to eat, watching them as they eat, and limiting or hiding food will only worsen the situation and increase their feelings of guilt and shame.
  • Focus on yourself: Decide when to look for advice for yourself from a health professional or counselor. It can be stressful helping someone suffering from BED, so it is important to have your own support system.
  • Avoid centering on weight loss: As much as you may be tempted to ask them how much weight they have lost and how much they want to lose, understand that the aim of the treatment is not weight loss and that these questions may deter them from the process of recovery.
  • Avoid working harder towards recovery than the binge eater: The person with the eating disorder should be the one working hard and leading in the recovery process. This does not imply that you should not help, but ensure that you are not the one doing all the grocery shopping, keeping the treatment appointments, or reminding them to attend appointments. Inasmuch as you have good intentions, the binge eater should be the one making the effort to move forward.
  • Look for a caring environment: You should choose an environment that supports calm and open conversations. For instance, it will be helpful to approach the binge eater in an environment where they feel most safe, comfortable, and at home. Do not bring up the topic if you are near food or in circumstances in which one of you is emotional, tired, or angry.