Binges: Why Do We Do Them And How Can We Avoid Them

by : HeleneD

The simple theory about human behavior is that we do things that either bring us pleasure and/or help us avoid pain. And that's not a bad way to look at bingeing.

An outsider that has never experienced a binge, might see them as either a pure gluttonous act, or totally irrational behavior. Compulsive is a better way to describe it, and compulsions are an attempt at protecting us from something.

That fits in with the theory that overeating is often a response to stress. Bingeing just takes it to the extreme.

As an ex-binger, I can tell you that bingeing has many levels. At first, it is strictly a response to some anxiety, including the anxiety of gaining weight, which is quite an irony.

Then it gets more convoluted. The whole process of bingeing becomes an escape. It is a roller coaster ride of stress buildup followed by a plunge, and the binger starts to look for it.

We would deny high and low, saying how trapped we feel by our inability to stop. But bingeing has the payoff of keeping us very busy and focussed on that artificial life, rather than on whatever is happening around us. It even provides some of us that are disassociated types, with a temporarily feeling of being alive for a change.

So it has several addictive layers: the food (especially the type of food we binge on, which is definitely not lettuce), and the tension and release cycle.

One of the ways of avoiding binges is to break the chain of events leading to its climax. Don't go to the store to buy the food, for example. I found that this only works in the early stages of bingeing addiction. When it is more ingrained, you need to get beyond behavior modification or cognitive therapy.

The binges must be deactivated by working on their causes: the sources of anxiety and related coping mechanisms, and the disassociation from life (most often associated with trauma).

Some people do respond well to traditional therapy; many find they don't need to re-experience or get insights about the original trauma(s) that caused the disassociation or poor anxiety coping skills, but rather need to release the emotional intensity around it.

That can be done through emotional energy therapy such as EFT or our own Power Point Therapy. Hypnosis suits a number of people as well, and the combination of it with energy therapy is especially powerful.

So if you are a binger and haven't been able to stop through willpower, behavior modification or cognitive therapy, there are alternatives. And I happen to think that the alternatives are worth trying before these traditional therapies, especially since they usually take longer.