(306) 382-2391 Monday - Friday 9:00am - 8:00pm Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm

Binge Eating: Is It a Disorder or Not?

Binge eating can be caused by a lot of things. It can be used to cope with stress, it can be a response to an emotional trigger, it can be a learned behavior, improper knowledge about healthy eating, or all of the above.

Binge eating can be scary for anyone because you feel like you don’t have any control over what you are doing, and you never know when the urge to binge eat is going to happen next. But there are ways to work through binge eating.

Binge eating not only affects your body but also your thoughts and emotions. What is binge eating disorder? It is a diagnosable eating disorder that can be serious and life threatening. Binge eating is reoccurring moments of overeating usually to the point of discomfort where a person feels no control over what they are doing, including feelings of shame and guilt after the episode has happened. It is important to know there is a difference between binge eating and overeating.

Binge eating disorder happens more frequently, usually more than once a week for several months. Whereas overeating happens less frequently and usually has weeks or even months between an episode. Overeating is eating past the point of feeling full and the individual usually does not feel out of control. Overeating usually happens at family holiday meals or when feeling stressed or anxious about something going on in one’s life.

Since we are all human, we will overeat occasionally and that is perfectly okay. We are only human, and it is not something to be worried about. Sometimes we will binge eat and that is also normal because it is not happening often enough to be diagnosed as an eating disorder.

We all deserve to have a positive relationship with food, today most people struggle with their eating habits. There is always some fad diet happening that suggests a person is strict on what they eat. This often causes someone to overeat, or binge eat, regularly for a short period of time until they have stopped the fad diet. Restrictive dieting can cause more issues with eating habits than it fixes.

Binges are often caused by emotional triggers or biological inheritance. Emotional triggers can be caused by work stress, family, self-esteem, trauma, sleep deprivation, grief and several other reasons.  These episodes of binge eating can cause weight gain or loss, mood swings or digestive issues.

You can over come binge eating. First speak with a health care professional to see if you have Binge Eating Disorder or not. Then forgive yourself for the episode and get down to the root cause of it. When we understand why we binge eat we can then work on the solution. Most importantly you must learn to let go and move on. No amount of shame or guilt will change the fact that it has happened already.

Getting over binge eating is not an easy task. But it can be done, and the first step is to sit down and be real with yourself as to why it continues to happen. What is the root cause?

If you’d like to learn more, or talk to me about your binge eating behaviours, I’d be happy to help. I’m accepting new clients in Prince Albert and Melfort (in-person or virtual) and throughout Saskatchewan (virtual). To book, phone the main office at (306) 382-2391, or use our online scheduling system found on our website.

Courtney Ruszkowski, BISW, RSW

Clinical Counsellor / Registered Social Worker