Mental Help Net
Eating Disorders
Basic InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersBlog EntriesVideosLinksBook Reviews
Therapist Search
Find a Therapist:
 (USA/CAN only)

Use our Advanced Search to locate a therapist outside of North America.

Related Topics

Anxiety Disorders
Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Personality Disorders
Self Esteem
Mental Disorders

Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Suggestions, Binge Eating Disorder

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 9th 2008

 While I have not received help for bing eating I have given that type of help to patients in my practice.

Binge eating disorder is somewhat related to Bulimia Nervosa but without any type of purging. Binge eating is characterized by stuffing as many carbohdydrates into one's mouth as fast as possible. The individual cannot stop. There is little or no concern about taste or flavor as this has nothing to do with dining or enjoying fine foods. Donuts, bagels, muffins, all types of breads, ice creams, and other such type carbos are the target. Some people report enjoying the feeling of fulness or tightness in their stomachs. Often, there is a feeling of tiredness, followed by a kind of hypnotic state much like drug addicts on heroin experience. Later, the individual is over whelmed by feelings of shame. That is why the binging is done in private and in secret as much as possible. The shame feelings are accompanied by depression and self hatred. However, the next time the urge to binge takes over all of those shamed and depressed feelings vanish. The wish to binge is often caused by severe stress, anxiety, worry, impulsivenss and tension.

Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder:

There are a variety of ways in which this disorder is treated and they are used in conjunction with one another.

1. Psychotherapy is important learning how to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety that usually precede binge eating. This often includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a way to learn how to think more realistically about life, stress, anxiety and body image issues.

2. ED Nutritionist: It is important to see an expert nutritionist who specializes in working with eating disorders. Usually, the therapist makes the referral to the nutritionist. Part of the role of the nutritionist is to teach patients how to plan their meals, when to eat and in what amounts and how to avoid experiencing any feelings of starvation that sometimes set off a binge. Remember, the urge to binge often has nothing to do with hunger. However, not eating properly and on schedule is often part of the problem.

Many people with binge eating problems grew up in homes where there were no organized meals and in which everyone fended for themselves in terms of finding things to eat.

3. It is important to include a psychiatrist in the treatment process in order to prescribe anti depressant medications needed to reduce chronic feelings of depression and anxiety that accompany this disorder. There are some medications that might be able to reduce the impulsivenss that is part of binge eating but these particular medications do not always work.

Does this sound expensive?

There are some insurance policies that will pay for part of the cost of this treatment, particulary if it is viewed as a problem of physical health. Also, there are ways to reduce costs by not seeing a nutritionist and psychiatrist weekly. The therapist will be a weekly part of the treatment for a long time. Please consider that there could be a heavy health cost in the future if help is not received for this disorder that can destroy health.


It is vitally important that therapist, nutritionist and psychiatrist work cooperatively and consult with one another, especially if problems arise that need to be addressed.

Group Therapy:

One way to defray costs might be to attend group therapy that is devoted to binge eating disorders only. In addition, there are self help groups that are free and available in many communities to for people to help one another.

The new Online community at Mental Help Net is another place, in conjunction with all the important therapies, to get additional support.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Follow us on Twitter!

Find us on Facebook!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Powered by CenterSite.Net