Binge eating: Symptoms, treatment & recovery | Priory Dubai Mental Health News and Blog | Aspris Wellbeing Centres UAE

The pace of modern life can sometimes be difficult. People have different ways of coping with these pressures, some of which can be negative. At Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, Counsellor Imane Bougueffa has observed that eating disorders are becoming more common, with people developing the disorder as they attempt to deal with and adapt to the challenges of everyday life. 

There are different forms of eating disorders. Binge eating is one particular type, which people can turn to when attempting to handle the stresses that they face.

What is binge eating disorder (BED)?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is typically defined as compulsively overeating or consuming abnormal amounts of food while feeling unable to stop or control the urges. It is characterised by recurrent and persistent episodes of binge eating.

Instead of food being a source of life and energy, it is transformed into a method of unloading anxiety and shame. Though binge eating disorder can occur in men and women of normal weight, it can lead to unwanted weight gain.  This can cause to a person to feel as though they are in a cycle of compulsive eating in order to cope with life’s pressures, while also dealing with the views of a society that focuses aesthetically on bodies.

Binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:

  • Eating much more rapidly than normal
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
  • Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much they are eating
  • Feeling disgusted, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
  • Marked distress regarding binge eating
  • Absence of compensatory behaviours (such as purging)

BED is different from bulimia. People with BED binge but do not purge, and they can become overweight or obese. People with bulimia nervosa eat unusually large amounts of food (binge eat) and then compensate by purging (vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics), fasting or exercising excessively.

Treatment available for binge eating disorder

There are several therapeutic approaches to help a person deal with a binge eating disorder, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

The treatment undertaken will depend on the needs of the individual. However, all treatment can help a person achieve the following:

  1. Recognising the existence of a problem
  2. Becoming aware that their relationship to eating is unhealthy
  3. Actively asking for help from those close to them and requesting support from them
  4. Accessing a specialist in the field to receive appropriate treatment
  5. Increasing awareness of what they eat, taste and how they listen to their body to give them a sign of fullness
  6. Equipping themselves with skills to deal with and manage stress, anxiety and depression

If you would like to find out more about the eating disorder treatment that is available at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, call (+971) 4 245 3800 for a free telephone consultation today. You can also submit an online enquiry in confidence in order to speak to a member of our team.

Imane Bougueffa, Counsellor

This page was clinically reviewed by Imane Bougueffa (BPsych, MScPsych, Counsellor DHCC) in March 2023, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in March 2024. Imane is a trilingual (Arabic, French and English) Clinical Psychologist with over 9 years experience in the field. She has extensive experience working with adults and children. Imane specializes in using acceptance-commitment therapy (ACT) in the treatment of mood disorders and also has experience with child problems including bedwetting, jealousy, fears, education, ADHD and learning disabilities. View Imane's full profile here.