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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.


Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.

Binge Eating? Help is on the way                                    *pix

Binge Eating was officially recognized, in the 2013 Diaagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a mental disorder.

This recognition brings an opportunity for guilt to lift and treatment options to multiply.  It also means you need to learn more about the fundamental issues at play so you can make wise decisions about your approach to healing and recovery.. That's what this post is about.

Binge Eating Term

I think the name created confusion.  Binge eating is a behavior. So it seems, if you think linearly and logically, the solution to the porblem of binge eating is to stop.

But we humans are not linear.  Behavior, especially out of control behavior, has a multitude of physical and psychological sources.  And, what makes this even more complicated (great but complicated) is that our brains are not made of stone or can only be manipulated through surgery or drugs.  We can play a powerful role in the reshaping of our actual physical brain (see the work of Dan Siegel, M.D. and Allan Schore, Ph.D.) through our thoughts, behaviors and relationships.

If you binge eat you will feel guilt, depression, fear and condemn yourself with punishing thoughts because you ate too much again.  Food is your best friend because it comforts you as nothing else can.  Food is your enemy because your eating piles on pounds that limit your opportunities for a good life in terms of health, relationships, career, sports, or lifting your children or grandchildren and dancing around the room.

Binge Eating Diagnosis Brings More Healing Opportunities

When binge-eating disorder is recognized as a diagnosable illness you can free yourself of condemning self judgement and seek treatment.  Hopefully, now that it is an accepted diagnosis, you will find some insurance coverage to help with the costs. 

You will still need to be discriminating, as always, about your treatment choices. Linear thinking and wishes for fast solutions to complex problems create major obstacles to thorough and lasting healing. So watch out for treatment programs of any kind that promise fast and easy answers. 

Real healing from binge eating disorder involves your moving on a path that shows you how to nourish and enrich your heart and soul.  As you follow that path you will heal and, over time with consistent effort, most likely change the shape and functioning of your brain.  You'll have far better resources within you to cope with your challenges and enjoy your new freedoms.

 Note: Scientific investigation requires intense study and research on details.  The details require names.  The names can get complicated and multi-syllabic.  But, the bottom line in this research and new findings is that

Binge eating recovery requires:
  1. love,
  2. compassion,
  3. empathy,
  4. caring, 
  5. istening,
  6. providing a nurturing environment with someone else and for one's self
Nourishing therapeutic environment creates:
  1. healing,
  2. freedom,
  3. health,
  4. resiliency,
  5. the ability to tolerate tough situations, feel, think and respond in effective ways.

Healing Your Hungry Heart gives many examples and exercises on how to d give yourself this environment for eating disorder recovery.

Finding a clinician who will work with you on these terms gives you the opportunity to gain lasting health and freedom.

Joanna Poppink, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery. All appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Author of Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder


Dan Siegel video

Image by Alexandr Podvalny from Pixabay

We've all heard of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, both life-threatening illnesses.
Click Like For Boston News Updates:
But one disturbing eating behavior, binge-eating, affects many more people. Until now, it hasn't been recognized as a legitimate disorder. But that is expected to change, making treatment available for those who desperately need it.Chevese Turner struggled with binge-eating for years, beginning when she was 5 years old."I was actually using food and binging to soothe feelings. It was a feeling of relief, a feeling of being alone and calmer," said Turner, who is now president of the Binge Eating Disorder Association.Turner said she'll be in recovery for life. But the days of mindlessly consuming enormous amounts of food are hopefully behind her.Those who binge are plagued by guilt, depression and anxiety."The patient who binge eats takes in a large amount of calories in a short amount of time, let's say within a two-hour period, and feels a loss of control over the eating behavior, as if they can't stop eating," said Dr. Caroline Apovian, director of Nutrition and Weight Management at Boston Medical Center.According to recent studies, that loss of control could have a bio-chemical link that turns eating, like drugs and alcohol, into addiction."It may in part be caused by a problem in the reward circuitry in the brain," said Dr. James Hudson of McLean Hospital. "The thought is that maybe the reward center is being stimulated inappropriately in people with binge eating disorder, overstimulated, if you will, by eating," said Hudson.Since obesity is often associated with binge-eating, some people turn to gastric bypass surgery."Just providing surgical intervention is not going to help them if they have binge eating. They also need a psychiatric treatment plan," said Apovian.Treatment may be more readily available soon. Binge-eating disorder is expected to be formally recognized as a diagnosable illness."It will help people get treatment because these days without an official diagnostic code, it's often very difficult to get reimbursed for treatment for any condition," said Hudson."This really validates that sense that they are really struggling with something and that it really isn't just a matter of will power. People with the disorder are extraordinarily ashamed about it," he said.A number of drugs are being tested to treat binge-eating disorder. So far, none has been approved by the FDA.

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