Tips Towards The Proper Treatment Of Binge-Eating Disorders
Up to 24 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder such as Binge-Eating Disorder (BED), Bulimia, or Anorexia. For women, an estimated 2 to 5% will experience BED in a 6-month period. Due to the abundance of this eating disorder, finding a qualified and accredited practitioner is essential for an individual struggling to heal.
Binge-Eating Disorder is defined as “a serious eating disorder which you frequently consume large amounts of food, where you may feel deeply embarrassed about gorging, you may feel a compulsion you can’t resist to continue to binge eat, and it is usually done in secret,” according to the Mayo Clinic. BED is a complex psychosocial disorder where the person can experience other conditions such as obsessive-compulsive behavior, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Therefore, a practitioner needs to have strong counseling skills and advanced training in order to provide specialized treatment for people with BED.
Marci Anderson, MS, RD, cPT, CEDRD, owner of Marci RD Nutrition Consulting, has completed advanced training as an Intuitive Eating Skills Coach, is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian from the IAEDP, and uses a non-weight focused, non-diet approach in her practice. Anderson has spoken at numerous events regarding BED and is an active member of the Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association. Anderson recommends the non-weight approach when dealing with BED clients because many times their focus on weight loss can trigger BED thoughts and behaviors. This is a challenge, but providing the clients with a clear focus is important for recovery.
Debi Zvi, RD, CDN, owner of Debi Zvi Nutrition, specializes in emotional eating as a coping mechanism. She is in the process of completing her Masters in Mental Health Counseling. Debi emphasizes two practices: continuing education and establishing trust with clients. Many BED clients may not fully trust a practitioner right away, so establishing that “circle of trust” is extremely impactful for getting results. Zvi advises using an activity called the “web of closeness” as one tool to establish a support system.
Both Anderson and Zvi strongly advocate working with therapists and building a support team. Anderson notes that many people with BED suffer from post tramatic stress syndrome, too, which adds an additional complicated element. Having a referral network can help in providing the best care for the client.
One of Anderson’s rewarding situations is when her clients describe their recovery as finding “freedom, peace, joy, and hopefulness” in life. Zvi describes a rewarding situation when one of her clients didn’t binge during a typical binge situation. The client broke a strong pattern in her routine that helped her cut down her number of binges each week with continued success. Small changes are so important and as time goes on, there is less and less resistance.
Binge-Eating Disorder is a complex eating disorder. Adequate treatment requires the proper training, skill development, and education in addition to having the right tools, resources, and established team support system.
Here are some further resources to get the education you need to succeed in helping your clients.
Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA): http://bedaonline.com/
Academy for Eating Disorders: http://www.aedweb.org
National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (ANAD): http://www.anad.org/
Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association: http://www.medainc.org/
Sarah Koszyk is the founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and blog. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach at Eating Free, an online adult weight management program. She also provides in-person nutrition coaching at a private practice, MV Nutrition, in San Francisco, CA, where she specializes in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.