Binge Eating Disorder Therapy in Edinburgh

At Edinburgh Therapy Service, we specialize in eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, and ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder). Our primary treatment approach focuses on CBT-E, adapted specifically for people with binge eating disorders. In addition, we are committed to creating personalized treatment plans by drawing from various therapeutic methods to best meet each client’s unique needs.

What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder, more commonly known as BED, is an eating disorder characterised by the repetitive occurrence of episodes during which those affected consume substantial quantities of food within a relatively brief timeframe. These episodes, often referred to as “binges,” are marked not only by the sheer amount of food ingested but also by the profound sense of losing control over one’s eating behaviour.


A binge typically involves consuming a large number of calories, often far beyond what the body requires for sustenance. These episodes can last for extended periods, with some people continuing to eat for hours at a time. The sheer volume of food consumed during a binge can be distressingly high, and it often exceeds what one would consider a normal meal or even several meals combined.


Intense feelings of guilt, shame, and regret often accompany the aftermath of a binge. Those with BED commonly experience an overwhelming emotional burden, compounded by the knowledge that their eating behaviour is beyond their control. This sense of helplessness can be a deeply distressing aspect of the disorder.


It’s important to emphasise that binge eating disorder is a serious condition. The consequences can impact both physical and emotional well-being. Physically, BED can lead to obesity and related health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Emotionally, it can contribute to depression, anxiety, and diminished self-esteem. 

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Our therapists are qualified and registered with reputable professional associations for psychotherapy and counselling.

When to seek help for binge eating?

When struggling with binge eating, it’s important to consider counselling when the symptoms begin to permeate various aspects of your life. Whether it’s a noticeable decline in mental well-being, physical health concerns, strained relationships, decreased productivity at work, or a general deterioration in the quality of life, these are red flags that therapy may be an essential step toward healing. The profound feelings of guilt and the overwhelming sense of losing control that often accompany binge eating can become all-encompassing, affecting your self-esteem and emotional stability.


Furthermore, if you find yourself experiencing significant, unhealthy weight gain as a result of binge eating, it’s a sign that help might be necessary. The consequences of unchecked binge eating can lead to obesity and associated health risks. Even if you’ve attempted to address the binges independently and haven’t been successful in changing the situation, this is a testament to the complex nature of binge eating disorder. Therapy, utilising evidence-based approaches like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), can provide the tools and guidance needed to regain control over your relationship with food and work towards a healthier, more balanced life.

Therapy for binge eating disorder

Several therapeutic approaches can be effective in binge eating disorder treatment. Here are some of the common therapies used for this problem:


Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used therapy for binge eating disorder. It focuses on identifying and changing unhealthy thought patterns and behaviours related to food and eating. Clients learn to develop better coping strategies and more positive relationships with food.


Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT): ACT encourages people to accept their thoughts and feelings without judgement and commit to actions aligned with their values. 


Compassion-focused therapy (CFT): Compassion-focused therapy is an approach that focuses on developing self-compassion and reducing self-criticism. This therapy helps clients cultivate a kind and compassionate relationship with themselves, which can be instrumental in breaking the cycle of shame and self-criticism that often accompanies binge eating. 


Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): IPT is a type of therapy that concentrates on improving interpersonal relationships and communication skills. It can be beneficial for those whose binge eating is linked to emotional conflicts in their relationships.


Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): DBT combines cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness and acceptance strategies. It helps clients manage their emotions and improve their impulse control, which can be relevant for those with binge eating disorder.


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT): MBCT combines mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy. It helps people become more aware of their thoughts and feelings and can be useful in managing binge eating triggers.


Family-based therapy (FBT): FBT is often used with children and adolescents with eating disorders, as it involves the entire family in the treatment process. It focuses on improving family dynamics and support systems

Our approach to binge eating counselling

At Edinburgh Therapy Service, we offer evidence-based treatments for binge eating disorder. Following the guidance of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), an independent UK organisation dedicated to evidence-based mental health treatment recommendations, our primary approach for eating disorders is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). However, recognizing that each individual is unique, we also provide alternative therapeutic options, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compassion-focused therapy (CFT), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).


We personalise each treatment plan to the person, considering their specific circumstances and needs. Our commitment to providing a non-judgmental and safe space ensures that clients can engage in therapy with confidence and trust in our supportive environment.


Binge eating is characterised by recurrent episodes of consuming a large amount of food in a short period while experiencing a sense of loss of control. Some common symptoms and signs of binge eating disorder include:


➤   Eating rapidly, secretly, and consuming large food quantities, much more food than most people would eat in a similar period and under similar circumstances.


➤   A feeling of loss of control during the binge episode, where it’s challenging to stop.


➤   The episodes are recurrent,  at least once a week for three months or more.


➤   Binges can be triggered by emotions, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or loneliness.


➤   Unlike bulimia, individuals with binge eating disorder typically do not engage in purging behaviours like vomiting or excessive exercise.


➤   Feelings of guilt and regret after a binge.


➤   Weight gain.


➤   Psychological distress.


The precise causes of binge eating disorders remain uncertain. However, we do recognize various risk factors that can influence the onset and perpetuation of binge eating behaviours.


➤   Psychological factors, such as low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and a history of mood disorders like depression or anxiety.


➤   Genetics.


➤   Dieting and restrictive eating.


➤   Environmental factors, like growing up in an environment where there is an emphasis on appearance, weight, or dieting.


➤   Stress, trauma, or major life changes.


➤   Cultural pressures and societal ideals of beauty and body image.


➤   Substance abuse.


➤   Childhood eating habits.

Do you offer binge eating therapy near me?

The Edinburgh Therapy Service offers both in-person binge eating therapy in Edinburgh (United Kingdom), and convenient online therapy accessible worldwide. You can find our exact location here

Your binge eating therapist in Edinburgh

Hello, I’m Cristina, an Edinburgh Therapy Service therapist specialising in eating disordersI empathize with the profound sense of hopelessness and isolation that often accompanies binge eating. The truth is, you are not alone in this struggle; many individuals face similar challenges. It’s entirely understandable if you’ve tried numerous approaches and feel as though nothing can make a difference. However, numerous effective tools are available to support you, and therapy is one of them.

Research demonstrates the effectiveness of therapies like CBT in reducing the frequency of binge episodes. You have the potential to reclaim your life, free yourself from the burden of guilt and worry, and refocus your energies on what truly matters. I’m here to help you on this journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, and together, we can begin making positive changes in your life.


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The Edinburgh Therapy Service is a psychotherapy and counseling practice based in Edinburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom). We offer therapy both in-person in Edinburgh and online, available in English and Spanish.

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Contact us for more information or to book your first appointment: [email protected]