While we are certainly known for our binge eating disorder treatment program in Howard County, we recognize that many folks come to us looking for treatment for other compulsive behaviors. Those may include compulsive spending, sex, and the like. All of this comes down to one term: binge behavior.
The purpose of binge behavior is to numb out, avoid issues that are uncomfortable, heighten joy, thrill seeking, and more. But whether it’s food or behavioral addiction, these binges all stem from the struggle with self-worth and self-efficacy. In other words – people who feel I’m not worth it and I can’t do it.
But you can. When we hear “I can’t,” we know the real words are “I’m scared.” Our binge eating disorder group is for those who may compulsively over eat or self-soothe with food, but who also struggle with other forms of behavior that feel compulsive, out of control, and self-harming. We want to be clear, we are not treating addiction; we are concerned about those who abuse food or use self-harm behaviors for the purpose of avoiding the pain they are in.
Here’s why we see the need:
Key Points from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University:
- up to 50% of eating disorder patients also abuse alcohol or drugs
- up to 35% of substance abusers have an eating disorder
- Much higher correlation with bulimia or bulimic behaviors (including anorexics who purge vs. traditional anorexics)
- caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, diuretics, laxatives, emetics, amphetamines, cocaine and heroin as substances used to suppress appetite, increase metabolism, purge unwanted calories and self-medicate negative emotions
- Middle school girls (10 – 14 year olds) who diet more than once a week are nearly four times likelier to become smokers
- Girls with eating disorder symptoms are four times likelier to use inhalants and cocaine.
- 12.6 percent of female high school students take diet pills, powders or liquids to control their weight without a doctor’s advice
- Bulimic women who are alcohol dependent report a higher rate of suicide attempts, anxiety, personality and conduct disorders and other drug dependence than bulimic women who are not alcohol dependent
Shared Risk Factors:
- Occur in times of transition or stress
- Common brain chemistry
- Common family history
- Low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, impulsivity
- History of sexual or physical abuse
- Unhealthy parental behaviors and low monitoring of children’s activities
- Unhealthy peer norms and social pressures
- Susceptibility to messages from advertising and entertainment media
- Obsessive preoccupation, craving, compulsive behavior, secretiveness, rituals
- Experience mood altering effects, social isolation
- Linked to other psychiatric disorders, suicide
- Difficult to treat, life threatening
- Chronic diseases with high relapse rates
- Require intensive therapy
Contact us now at (877) 674-2843 to get help or for more information.
By Andrew Walen, LCSW-C - Founder, Executive Director, Psychotherapist at The Body Image Therapy Center. If you would like to get in touch with Andrew please call 877-674-2843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.