Binge Eating Disorder: Impulse Control and a Recovery Coach

Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by intense urges to overeat compulsively, which leads to the consumption of an abnormal amount of food in a relatively short time period.

Fortunately, an Eating Disorder Recovery Coach, a mental health professional who specializes in eating disorders, can help you work through the urges to binge.

If you have suffered from binge eating disorder, you have likely experienced the overwhelming impulses that drive you to binge on food, despite any attempts to resist the urges.

Many individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder would attest to the loss of control they often experience during bingeing episodes, feeling a sense of unconsciousness as they engage in food binges that take them beyond a normal point of satiety.

Binge eating is often driven by a variety of complex factors and is much more than a lack of “self-control” when it comes to food and eating.

A Recovery Coach Can Help Manage the Surge of Stress or Emotion

The intensity of the impulse that leads to the bingeing episode often involves surges of tension, anxiety, and even guilt as a person engages in the maladaptive behaviors associated with binge eating.

Impulses to binge and compulsively overeat can be elicited by a variety of factors, including:

Environmental stressors:

  • Work-related stress
  • Strains in relationships

Psychological triggers:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

People may also engage in binge eating as a means of numbing painful emotions or escaping uncomfortable feelings. The vicious nature of binge eating can further propel a person into a never ending cycle, with feelings of guilt and shame driving further binge eating episodes.

Physiological Factors of Binge Eating

Physiological factors may also influence the development of binge eating disorder, with much research now revealing the connection between genetics and eating disorders. One such study demonstrated how binge eating runs in families and that family members of compulsive overeaters had an increased chance of developing severe obesity in adulthood [1].

Understanding the factors that influence binge eating disorder is helpful in applying effective treatment options. Binge eating disorder does not simply arise as a lack of self-will or laziness or indolence. It is important to understand that binge eating disorder is, in fact, a diagnosable psychiatric illness, for which treatment and professional help is needed to recover.

The consequences of binge eating disorder involve many aspects, including a person’s physical health, emotional well-being, and mental stability. A lack of specialized care and treatment for binge eating disorder can lead to problematic health concerns.

Treatment Options Available for BED

Many treatment options exist today that help individuals suffering from binge eating disorder effectively overcome and recover from this condition. Treatment options may be variable, depending on the severity of the disorder and symptoms that may be present.

If more supervision and interventions are needed to support medical and psychiatric stabilization, a person may benefit from residential treatment for a time being.

Individuals with binge eating disorder will less acute issues may do well in intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment. This is something that should be determined by a qualified eating disorder specialist after a thorough evaluation.

Relation to OCD

Because of obsessive-compulsive traits that are often demonstrated in binge eating disorder, and the intense impulses that are commonly experienced, many forms of psychotherapy are powerful tools for recovery.

CBT and other Psychotherapies

Techniques that are taught in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can efficiently teach binge-eaters how to identify their triggers and challenge the distorted thoughts and beliefs they may have about themselves, their bodies, and food.

CBT and other forms of psychotherapy can help a person suffering from binge eating transform their relationship with food and overcome the impulses that often make them feel out of control. Psychotherapy may be more effective when combined with medication management, and this option should be discussed by a comprehensive treatment team.

Eating Disorder Recovery Coach

Trained mental health care professionals who specialize in eating and impulsive control disorders have the expertise to successfully guide individuals struggling with binge eating disorder through CBT practices.

A treatment option for binge eating disorder is working with an eating disorder coach. Eating disorder coaches are trained mental health professionals who provide one on one work with clients to help work through urges, impulses, and triggers that are involved in binge eating disorder.

If you have been struggling with binge eating disorder and have been reluctant towards treatment, you may consider the option of working with a recovery coach, who can meet you where you are at individually and help you develop effective coping mechanisms.

It is important to know that an eating disorder coach should not take the place of a treatment team for binge eating disorder but rather complement the work you are already doing.

Seeking Help Is Crucial

It is crucial that you seek the help you need to recover and heal from binge eating disorder. The stigmas, shame, and fears that commonly surround this disorder often prevent people from taking the steps the need to get the help they need.

If you are struggling with binge eating disorder, remember that this, in fact, a disease that needs to be treated on a professional level. Take advantage of the many valuable treatment options that are available today, including psychotherapy, professional counseling, and eating disorder recovery coaches.


  1. Hudson, James, et al. Binge-Eating Disorder as a Distinct Familial Phenotype in Obese Individuals. JAMA Psychiatry March 2006, Vol 63, No. 3.

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC is a Contributing Writer for Eating Disorder Hope.

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH and nutrition private practice.

Page Last Reviewed and Updated By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 31, 2017
Published on, Eating Disorder Information Help & Resources

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The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.