How Do I Choose the Best Binge Eating Support Group?
A binge eating disorder is a condition in which a person frequently binge eats, which is eating a large quantity of food in a short period of time. Feelings of shame are also usually present. Everyone may overeat from time to time, but binges typically involve unusually large amounts of food. A binge eating support group can help you deal with the disorder. Some of the most important things to look for when choosing a support group include an acceptance of different beliefs and treatment methods, regularly scheduled meetings, and a mental health professional who leads the group.
There are many different types of support groups, from those that take a purely scientific or talk-therapy approach to those that use 12-step or religion-oriented approaches. Which you choose should depend on your personal philosophy of recovery. Some groups will accept each person's specific approach to getting better, whether through prayer or secular means. If you choose a group that follows one specific approach that is not in line with your philosophy, you could feel pressured to change your beliefs to get the full support of the group.
A binge eating support group will likely be filled with a wide variety of people who suffer from the disorder in different degrees. A group that seems to endorse one particular type of treatment, such as certain medications or behaviors, may not be inclusive enough to offer the type of support you need. It may be best to find a group that does not endorse any particular treatment, but instead supports those who come regardless of where they are in their recovery.
It also is important to find a binge eating support group that meets regularly at a predictable time and place. If the group often does not meet when it is scheduled or frequently makes last-minute changes to the schedule, it may not offer the support you need. It also may be a good idea to find a group that has a mental health professional present at least some of the time. Having an expert present can help make sure that false information and bad advice can be corrected immediately. A professional may also be able to lead the meetings in more productive ways.
Most mental health organizations have lists of support groups and the areas in which they meet. It may not be possible to find a group that only deals with binge eating, however. Eating disorder support groups may include members who suffer from binge eating as well as from bulimia nervosa, which usually involves binge eating and then vomiting. Anorexia nervosa is another common eating disorder, which involves eating very little or nothing at all. Many of the same issues and problems are present in the lives of people with these different eating disorders, so if there is not a specific binge eating support group in your area, a general eating disorder group may work just as well for you.
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