Thursday, 29 January 2015

Binge Eating Disorder: Why You Need to Treat Mental Health First

By Camille Noe Pagán
And Kelli Miller
WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD

Binge eating disorder is a complex condition that affects the brain and then the body. At the most basic level, negative thoughts and habits trigger overeating. This is a mental health (psychological) problem. Eating too much over and over again can make you gain a lot of weight and cause other body (or physical) problems.

Since binge eating stems from the way your brain works, “treatment focuses on mental health, not weight loss,” says Jonathan H. Richardson, PsyD. He’s a psychologist at The Charis Center for Eating Disorders at Indiana University Health.

Weight gain is an effect, not the cause, of binge eating disorder. So, the main goal of treatment through therapy is to figure out why you're bingeing, and then to replace bad habits and thoughts with positive emotions and skills. That can help you get better.

Here are some reasons why eating disorder experts say you should focus on your mental health before the numbers on the scale.

Dieting Usually Backfires

Gaining weight might make you think about going on a diet. It does for many people. But if you have binge eating disorder, dieting can make you more likely to overeat.

“When you restrict certain foods or calories to lose weight, you feel deprived. [This] causes psychological and chemical changes that encourage you to keep bingeing,” says Sondra Kronberg, RD, CDN. She's a spokeswoman for the National Eating Disorders Association. “Bingeing makes you feel better, at least in the short term, but then you feel bad for doing it. So you try to make up for that by not eating enough, only to binge again.”

In treatment, you'll be encouraged to not diet -- ever. Even after you get better, dieting can trigger an urge to binge. That’s why dietitians and doctors who treat binge eating disorder don’t offer tips on how to eat to slim down.

During your treatment, you'll learn to:

  • Never skip meals, because hunger can lead to a binge.
  • Include protein with meals and snacks, which helps make you feel full and calms cravings.

source : Binge Eating Disorder: Why You Need to Treat Mental Health First

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