Binge Drinking and Eating

Binge drinking and binge eating can frequently occur together. In this article, you’ll learn what causes these disorders to occur and the treatments available to address them. 

What is Binge Drinking and Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating is a type of eating disorder (also known as binge eating disorders) that involves eating significant amounts of food despite feeling full or not even hungry while drinking or after drinking. For example, some people who have a night out of drinking will get home and eat large quantities of fatty foods. It’s common for people with this type of eating disorder to frequently abuse alcohol.

Binge drinking is defined as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on an occasion (for men) and 4 or more alcoholic drinks on an occasion (for women). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking is more common in adults ages 18 to 34 and twice as common among men than women.

Additionally, it’s more common among adults with higher household incomes ($75,000 or more) who are non-Hispanic White or live in the Midwest. 

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Binge Eating? 

Alcohol can sometimes mask underlying feelings that people are experiencing. Therefore, people who binge eat after drinking are often trying to use food as a way of dealing with other emotions such as depression or anxiety.

By eating food, they hope it will diminish any uncomfortable feelings they are having after drinking.

Health Complications: Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Food Consumption

Both binge drinking and binge eating have serious risks of health complications. Specifically, binge drinking can cause alcohol poisoning, violent behavior, unsafe decision-making, and cause chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

It can also increase someone’s risk of many types of cancer. 

Binge eating can cause caloric deficiencies, weight gain, and lead to other eating disorders such as purging.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The treatment for binge drinking and eating is dual diagnosis treatment. Alcohol use disorder/alcohol addiction is frequently accompanied by mental health disorders (such as binge eating and other eating disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and many others). 

Furthermore, addictive substances (such as alcohol) and mental health disorders often affect the same areas of the brain, which can make treating co-occurring disorders more challenging. The good news is that with the right help and evidence-based therapies, people who binge drink and/or have drug addictions with co-occurring disorders can live happy, healthy lives. 

This is where dual diagnosis treatment can help. The purpose of this type of treatment is to address both the addiction and the underlying mental health disorder that is causing individuals to drink in the first place.

The benefits of dual diagnosis treatment for alcohol abuse/binge drinking and binge eating include: 

  • Going beyond the addiction and focusing on the mental illness as well
  • Increasing the chances of long-term sobriety, since dual diagnosis gets to the root of the issue
  • Providing effective tools for identifying triggers and coping skills
  • Learning to accept oneself
  • Further understanding the addiction and mental health condition(s)
  • Participating in a variety of therapies such as dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and holistic modalities

Get Help For Binge Drinking and Binge Eating 

If you are someone who experiences binge drinking and eating or drug addiction, our team at Enlight Treatment Center is here to help. With a staff-to-patient ratio of 3:1, we provide personalized, compassionate care through a variety of evidence-based therapies. Start your journey to long-term recovery today.

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