The Effects of Binge Eating on Mental and Physical Health

A binge eating disorder is a complex disorder with a number of mental and physical detriments. However, despite the hurdles that it can present, binge eating disorders are common and can affect anyone. While one’s eating habits may be the main focus of one’s concern when coping with the various effects these disorders can present each day, binge eating still has its roots in complex psychological needs that are just as important to address as one’s dieting habits. 

What is a Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorders are difficult to overcome, and those who suffer from them may find that they are commonly eating more than their bodies require in very short time frames. Indulging oneself in multiple meals, consistent snacking, and otherwise taking on more food than they need or are wanting to eat are all common practices, even occurring multiple times a week.

These eating habits are also difficult to control, and one may struggle to turn down food when offered or to stop eating once started. This can cause an individual to eat past the point where it is healthy, ignore the body’s signals to stop, and even cause adverse effects on one’s physical and mental health. The failure to moderate one’s food intake can cause an individual to become painfully stuffed as a result of their binge, and feelings of disgust, shame, self-criticism, and self-belittlement can follow. Because of the way in which one’s eating affects multiple aspects of their life, the psychological impact of binge eating is just as important to address as the physical ramifications. 

While working to counteract these eating habits with perpetual dieting plans is helpful, these plans can be extraordinarily challenging to maintain without professional and nutritional guidance.

The Physical Effects of Binge Eating

Binge eating has a massive impact on one’s body as those suffering from a binge eating disorder may leave the body with little time to properly digest and process the food. As a result, binge eating disorders can lead to excessive weight gain and obesity, along with a myriad of joint problems that come as a result of one’s weight change. Diabetes, heart issues, and sleep complications can all occur, each of which needs to be addressed to combat this eating disorder.

The Mental and emotional Impact of Binge Eating

Alongside the physical effects of binge eating, binge eating can carry a heavy emotional weight as well. Feelings of self-pity, self-criticism, guilt, or shame can result from consistent binging,  causing an individual to develop complex and difficult emotions, with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders often employed to address these debilitating emotional states. 

While one’s familial history, dieting, and predisposition to mental health concerns such as anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder all play a role in the development of an eating disorder, a binge eating disorder can affect anyone. A psychological impulse to feel full or satisfied on an emotional or social level can translate to a literal interpretation in one’s mind, creating the idea that binging can make an individual feel “whole.” Others may look to food as a way to indulge themselves and forget about other stresses, retreating from outward stresses and daily difficulties in their own lives. 

Getting Professional Help

Between the physical effects of binge eating compromising one’s self-image and the psychological effects birthed as a result of one’s binges, it is important to address this eating disorder in a holistic manner. Overcoming these disorders is not a manner of willpower alone as one’s mind and body may have been programmed to expect to engage in this kind of behavior. Rather, overcoming a binge eating disorder requires professional aid to uncover any psychological reasons behind one’s eating and nutritional guidance to create an educated and effective recovery plan. 

Creating a Healthy Recovery Plan

Much of the healing process centers on helping an individual feel emotionally full in their own lives. Reinforcing a positive body image and working to set appropriate goals for one’s body can help an individual see themselves in a positive light while combatting the feelings of self-criticism, belittlement, and shame that may be present. However, addressing this also involves approaching one’s eating habits with a cognitive-behavioral approach, understanding the reason behind one’s eating and working to better address feelings of anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders that could be informing one’s eating habits as a coping strategy. Working with professionals in a safe environment is crucial in taking the first step to understanding and overcoming a binge eating disorder in one’s own life.

Binge eating and other eating disorders can be a complex and overwhelming part of one’s daily life and are often interconnected with other psychological components or even substance abuse. If you or a loved one are struggling with a binge eating disorder, mental health disorder, or substance abuse disorder, we at Avalon Malibu are ready to help you today. Located in Malibu, California, we offer a wide range of therapeutic approaches and programs designed to meet you wherever you are in your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Between detox, residential care, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs, all of which can be personalized with your own array of pertinent and impactful proven therapies, we can help you design your own path to success today. Art and music therapy, psychodrama, education, yoga, mindfulness, and much more are all options designed to help you explore your own transforming future. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (844) 857-5992.

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