Binge Eating Disorder Treatment in Los Angeles

 

Before being diagnosed, a lot of people don’t know that binge eating disorder (BED) even exists.  Moderate to severe BED in adults is a very treatable medical condition. Many people overeat from time to time. But not everyone who overeats has a BED. Traditional binge eating disorder treatment in Los Angeles, California includes psychotherapy and occasionally, medication. 

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the world. About 2.8 million Americans are affected by it. It’s not just overeating. A person with BED symptoms binge eats at least once a week for 3 months.  People that suffer from binge eating disorder have no control over their eating during a binge. Binge eating is not about enjoying food. It’s about using food to feel better. Eventually, people that suffer from binge eating disorder feel very bad about bingeing, but they also feel unable to stop during an episode.

Weighty Issue

Anyone can develop a binge eating disorder, regardless of whether or not that person is normal weight, overweight, or obese. In fact, based on the body mass index (BMI), the majority of adults with BED are not obese. Fifty-five percent are of normal weight or overweight and 45% are obese.

What Are the Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is diagnosed based on specific criteria. The following symptoms must all be present to have a BED:

  • Eating far more food than most people would in a similar time frame and under similar circumstances regularly
  • Feeling that your eating is out of control during a binge
  • Feeling very upset by your binge eating
  • Binge eating happens at least once a week for three months on average
  • In contrast to other eating disorders, people with BED don’t usually try to “undo” their excessive eating with extreme actions like vomiting or over-exercising. BED is not part of another eating disorder.

Also, 3 or more of the following symptoms must also be present for a person to suffer from binge eating disorder:

  • Eating extremely fast
  • Eating after feeling full
  • Consuming large amounts of food even when not hungry
  • Eating alone to hide how much you’re eating
  • Feeling bad about yourself

Note that these criteria are not meant to make a diagnosis. Diagnosis should always be based on a thorough history and evaluation by a medical care provider.  Other things that people who binge eat often experience include:

  • An overpowering urge to eat large quantities of food
  • Low mood
  • Racing thoughts
  • Shame or guilt
  • Secretive behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

Severity Levels of Binge Eating Disorder

When determining the severity of a person’s binge eating disorder, a trained healthcare provider needs to consider the criteria along with the number of binge-eating episodes that a person experiences per week. The severity levels of binge eating disorder can be described as:

  • Mild – 1 to 3 binge-eating episodes per week
  • Moderate – 4 to 7 episodes per week
  • Severe – 8 to 13 binge-eating episodes per week
  • Extreme – 14 or more episodes per week

Who Can Develop Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder can occur in: 

  • both women and men, with BED being the most common food issue among men
  • across racial lines
  • across ethnic lines
  • Amongst people who are overweight, underweight, or a healthy weight

What Causes Binge Eating Disorder?

It’s not a lack of willpower that causes a person to develop a binge eating disorder. Research has shown that certain factors might play a part in the development of a binge eating disorder though.  These certain factors include:

Brain Chemistry

Adults with binge eating disorder might have differences in brain chemistry that could:

  • Inhibit the ability to regulate food intake
  • Increase or create the desire for a particular food
  • Increase the preference for a certain food

Genetics

Evidence has been found that binge eating disorder could be inherited and connected to family genetics.

Life Events

Stressful events in a person’s life could be linked to binge eating disorder. Examples of stressful events that could increase a person’s risk of developing BED include:

  • Life-threatening accidents
  • Natural disasters

How Does Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Work in Los Angeles?

To diagnose a binge eating disorder, your healthcare provider may propose a psychological evaluation. This will include a discussion of your eating habits. Your doctor may also recommend taking other tests at this time to check for possible health consequences of binge eating disorder.

Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease, a digestive disorder)
  • Sleep-related breathing disorders

Binge-Eating Therapy

The goals of binge eating disorder treatment are to reduce a person’s eating binges so that he or she acquires healthy eating habits. Since binge eating is so entangled with feeling shame, poor self-esteem, and other negative feelings, binge eating disorder treatment often addresses these negative feelings along with any other mental health problems, such as depression. When you get help for binge eating, you’re able to learn how to feel more in control of your eating.

Psychotherapy

Also called talk therapy, psychotherapy can help teach you how to exchange unhealthy habits for healthy ones and reduce episodes of bingeing. During psychotherapy, you may engage in group therapy with other people who are going through the same binge-eating experience as you. You may also have just one-on-one confidential therapy sessions with a counselor.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you cope with issues that can trigger bingeing episodes. These may be negative beliefs about your body image or a depressed mood. CBT can also give you more of a feeling of control over your behavior, which can help you regulate eating patterns.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

During interpersonal psychotherapy, you will focus on your relationships with others. The aim is to improve your interpersonal skills and how you relate to other people including family, friends, and coworkers. Doing this may help you reduce binge-eating episodes that are triggered by difficult relationships and unhealthy communication skills.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy can help you learn the behavioral skills to help you tolerate stress, regulate your emotions, and improve your relationships. This can help reduce your desire to binge eat.

Family Therapy

Support of your family is important for success in treatment. That’s why family therapy is so beneficial. Family therapy helps your family better understand your eating disorder. Family therapy also helps your family be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder. That way, your family can better support you. 

Girl at binge eating disorder treatment Los Angeles

Medication for Binge Eating

Although the following medications can be helpful to control binge-eating episodes, they might not have much effect on weight reduction.

1. Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) 

This is a drug typically used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, it is the first FDA-approved medication to treat moderate to severe binge-eating disorders in adults.  Still, it is a stimulant and can be habit-forming and abused. Common side effects of using Vyvanse are insomnia and dry mouth. More serious side effects can later occur though.

2. Topamax (topiramate)

Topamax is an anticonvulsant generally used to control seizures. It has also been found to reduce episodes of binge eating.  The side effects of Topamax topiramate include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating

3. Antidepressants

Antidepressants may be used to reduce binge eating. It’s not clearly known how they work, but it might be that they affect certain brain chemicals related to mood.

Behavioral Weight-Loss Programs

Often, people with binge-eating disorder have a record of failed attempts to lose weight on their own. Nevertheless, weight-loss programs aren’t usually recommended until the BED is treated. This is because dieting may trigger more binge-eating episodes and that may make weight loss less successful. Weight-loss programs usually incorporate medical supervision to make sure you meet your nutritional requirements. Weight-loss programs that discuss binge triggers are especially helpful for those that are already taking cognitive-behavioral therapy as a part of their binge eating disorder treatment. 

How to Overcome Binge-Eating Disorder

Lifestyle Remedies

In general, trying to perform binge-eating disorder treatment on your own isn’t effective. However, when combined with professional help, you can use the following self-care suggestions to reinforce your treatment plan.

  • Keep up with your treatment. Don’t skip your therapy sessions. If you were given a meal plan, do your best to stick to it. Don’t let setbacks throw off your efforts.
  • Don’t diet unless it’s supervised. Trying to diet can cause more binge-eating episodes. This could then lead to a cycle that is hard to break out of. Talk to your healthcare provider about suitable weight management programs for you. And don’t diet unless it’s recommended for your binge eating disorder treatment and supervised by a medical professional.
  • Eat breakfast. A lot of people with BED don’t eat breakfast. But if you eat breakfast, it will make you less likely to eat higher calorie meals later.
  • Rearrange your surroundings. The availability of some foods can trigger bingeing for some people. Try to keep tempting binge foods out of your home or limit your exposure to them.
  • Get your nutrition. Just because you’re eating a lot of food during your binges, it doesn’t mean that you’re getting all the essential nutrients that you need to be healthy. Ask your medical provider if you need to adjust your diet to get the necessary vitamins and minerals.
  • Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself. Your family members and friends want to see you succeed and get healthy. 
  • Be active.  Ask your medical provider what type of physical activity is right for you. This is especially important if you have health problems related to being overweight.

Alternative Medicine

Most herbal products and diet supplements meant to suppress your appetite or help with weight loss are ineffective and are sometimes misused by people with eating disorders. Plus, “natural” doesn’t always mean it’s safe. Supplements and herbs can have serious side effects and may interact with other medications.

7 Tips for Coping with Binge Eating Disorder

Because you have to deal with food every day, living with an eating disorder can be really difficult. Here are 7 quick tips to help you cope:

  1. Take it easy on yourself. Don’t listen to your own self-criticism.
  2. Try to recognize situations that could trigger destructive eating behaviors. Then develop a plan to deal with them ahead of time.
  3. Find positive role models. Role models can boost your self-esteem by reminding you that ultrathin models or actresses often don’t represent realistic, healthy bodies.
  4. Find a trusted relative or friend to talk to about what’s going on with you.
  5. Find someone who can be your partner in the battle. This should be someone who you can call for support instead of binge-eating.
  6. Discover healthy ways to care for yourself. Do something just for fun or to relax, such as meditation, yoga, or going for a walk.
  7. Journal about your feelings and behaviors. Sometimes journaling can make you more aware of your feelings and behavior, and how they are connected.

What’s The Difference Between Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge-eating disorder and bulimia are both eating disorders, and both of them feature rapid over-consumption of food and correlating feelings of lack of control and helplessness. However, people with bulimia usually attempt to “purge” their system after a binge. They may do this by making themselves vomit or using laxatives to flush out their digestive tracts.com  Individuals with binge eating disorder don’t try to purge the food they’ve eaten. Still, both binge eating disorder and bulimia conditions are self-destructive and involve an unhealthy preoccupation with food. Thus, people are both destructive, physically and mentally.

Begin Healing at Our Binge Eating Disorder Treatment in Los Angeles, CA

Montare Behavioral Health in Southern California has national accreditation in mental health treatment. We are proud of our innovative approach to treatment and we have a team of professionals whose only focus is on helping you live your best life. We understand that you probably have feelings of guilt due to your eating disorder. You have nothing to be ashamed of though. Step out and take control. You can achieve what your dream is with the right binge eating disorder treatment and encouragement that Montare provides in Los Angeles, CA. Don’t believe us? Contact us today and become part of our family of success stories.