25 Signs A Loved One May Have Binge Eating Disorder

When it is suspected a loved one may have an eating disorder, it is crucial to watch for the signs and symptoms so they can enter treatment at a binge eating treatment center and begin on the path to binge eating recovery. There are many symptoms besides the more obvious physical signs; individuals with binge eating disorder may exhibit a variety of mental, emotional and behavioral symptoms. Some symptoms may not even be apparent until an individual has entered eating disorder treatment. The first step in identifying possible symptoms of binge eating disorder is understanding what the disorder actually is.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a serious mental health disorder where an individual will consume a large amount of food within a short period of time; at times the individual will feel unable to stop themselves from eating. During a binge episode, food consumption may become out of control and occurrences will often become more frequent. Over time, binge eating can lead to a variety of related health conditions as well as changes in mood and behavior. While binge eating disorder can get progressively worse, it is treatable at an eating disorder treatment center.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Symptoms of binge eating disorder vary from person to person and while some are easier to spot, others may be difficult or may not fully be understood. Most people will notice the physical and behavioral symptoms, though the mental and emotional symptoms may be more difficult to decipher. It is important to remember someone with binge eating disorder may only show a few of the symptoms listed below, but the problem should still be addressed.

Physical Symptoms 

When observing for signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder, the first and most obvious signs noticed are physical. These symptoms are typically a result of the quick over consumption of calories. Some of the physical symptoms that can be found with binge eating disorder are:

  • Fluctuations in weightMany people with binge eating disorder will be overweight, typically with rapid and frequent fluctuations in weight, especially around frequent episodes of binging.
  • Overeating: Regular episodes of overeating is often the most noticeable behavior. These instances involve rapid eating and eating past the point of being full. This symptom may not be noticeable to everybody as the behavior may be done in secret.
  • Eating until becoming ill: Since an individual with binge eating disorder has difficulty controlling how much food they are consuming, they may eat until they feel physically ill.
  • High blood pressure: Binge eating disorder involves the over-consumption of food and, oftentimes, processed or snack foods high in sodium. Extra weight can lead to higher blood pressure, and once blood pressure is elevated, these higher sodium foods can further increase an individual’s blood pressure. Symptoms of high blood pressure can include flushing in the face, especially after activity.
  • High cholesterol levels: Cholesterol levels are often higher when an individual is overweight, and if the excess food they are consuming during a binge is high in trans or saturated fat, cholesterol levels can be further elevated, increasing the risk of clogged arteries.
  • Coronary disease: High cholesterol and high blood pressure can lead to a narrowing and blocking of the arteries resulting in a number of heart-related complications. If these complications are present, they should be immediately addressed to prevent further heart-related issues.
  • Painful joints: As weight increases, it can become more difficult for the body to support itself. This additional pressure can often affect the joints, causing pain and achiness, especially with increased movement.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Eating too much food, or large amounts of food that are processed or high in fat, can lead to a number of gastrointestinal problems. This can include bouts of constipation, diarrhea or even gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Type II diabetes: Being overweight or consuming high levels of sugar can result in problems with the body controlling insulin which can lead to the development of Type II diabetes. Diabetes can result in the need for insulin and can lead to a host of medical issues including nerve pain and numbness.
  • Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is caused when the soft tissue toward the back of the throat collapses occasionally while at rest. When this occurs a person will experience short periods of time where their breathing is interrupted. Sleep apnea occurs when the body has excess weight, especially around the neck area. The condition not only interrupts restorative sleep, but can also lead to heart complications.

Behavioral Symptoms

Behavioral symptoms of binge eating disorder may not be immediately apparent, but are behaviors that may become more noticeable over time. Most of the behavioral symptoms involve hiding food or the act of eating. Behavioral symptoms to watch out for are:

  • The disappearance of large amounts of food: If there is an abundance of food in the home, or multiple people who utilize it, this behavioral symptom may be more difficult to notice. While binge eating can occur with any food type, it is sometimes easier to take snack foods or other similar items without them being as easily noticed when they disappear.
  • Hidden food in rooms: Since binge eating often occurs when someone is alone, a behavioral symptom maybe regularly finding food hidden in bedrooms or living areas. This can include under the bed, in drawers or closets or any other place where food would not normally be stored.
  • Large quantities of empty containers or wrappers: There may be stashes of trash from consumed food hidden in the bottom of trash cans or more unusual places, such as drawers and under the bed. This is often the result of a binge eating episode, and the evidence may often be hidden until it can be disposed of without being seen.
  • Consistent eating throughout the day: While regular snacking can be common, continual and recurrent eating throughout the day can be a sign the eating is more a result of compulsion than actual hunger.
  • Stockpiling of food: Binge eating disorder is marked by the constant urge to eat. To make eating in private easier, someone with binge eating disorder may purchase large amounts of snack food and stockpile it in their room so they can have it available for a binge.
  • Excuses for meal absences: Since many people with binge eating disorder wish to eat in private they may make a variety of excuses to avoid family mealtimes; this can include the need to study or to meet up with friends. If skipping meals becomes routine, it may be cause for concern.
  • Periods of fasting: When someone who eats fairly frequently suddenly stops consuming food for a long period of time, it could the result of a periodic fast that occurs due to feelings of guilt.
  • The desire to eat alone: With binge eating disorder, secretive eating can be a common behavior. This can include consuming meals in their room or avoiding social situations where food will be involved.
  • Withdrawal from social activities: Due to the need to be in control of the environment for a potential binge episode, and fear of having to eat around others, many people with binge eating disorder will begin to isolate themselves from normal social activities they once had participated in. When these social activities involve food, this can become even more pronounced.
  • Perfectionistic tendencies: Binge eating disorder can provoke a feeling of lack of control. Because an individual may feel the food is taking control of their lives, he or she may find having control over other aspects of their life very empowering. This can result in tendencies to want to create perfection in everything they do. This can include being particular about the placement of items in their room, taking time to choose the perfect ensemble every day or working obsessively on homework or outside projects.

Emotional and Mental Symptoms

Emotional and mental symptoms associated with binge eating disorder can be the most difficult to determine. These symptoms are typically uncovered after binge eating disorder recovery at a binge eating treatment center has begun, though these symptoms may be obvious to someone who is a close confidant. Some of the emotional symptoms associated with binge eating disorder are:

  • DepressionThe inability to control situations, emotions or eating patterns can lead to feelings of depression. The individual could have also been suffering from depression before the binge eating began.
  • Distorted body image: Since binge eating disorder can result in fluctuations in weight, it can also come with a dissatisfaction in one’s appearance. This negative view of one’s body size or shape can increase episodes of binge eating.
  • Feelings of shame: Binge eating episodes are often accompanied by feelings of shame. This symptom can be particularly hard to notice unless the person with the disorder has someone they confide in about how they are feeling.
  • Anxiety: Since binge eating disorder is something that often occurs in private, there may be anxiety associated with food in general. Family gathering, holidays or parties where food is a main part of the celebration can lead to stress and even panic attacks.

When Should Treatment Be Sought

Since many of the symptoms of binge eating disorder can be difficult to see, or may not initially present, treatment at an eating disorder treatment center should be sought even if only some of the above symptoms have been observed. While overindulgence can be common, persistent occasions of over consumption should be considered a possible sign. If observed, it is important to research treatment options and begin on the path to binge eating disorder recovery.

When is the Right Time for Treatment?

Monte Nido’s Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia Primary Therapist Kate Funk, MS, MFT shares some of her personal recovery journey in this week’s blog post. She explains that there might not be a “perfect” time to enter into treatment and to not let that stop you from seeking the support and help needed. Read on to learn more from Kate’s personal and professional experience…

Ambivalence is a common part of eating disorder recovery. Getting better can often feel terrifying and overwhelming which makes people question if they even want to recover. There is often a thick layer of denial and fear that can also make people question if getting better is truly worth it or if it’s the best time to start on the journey to recovery.

Continue reading…

Treatment Options for Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common and well-known eating disorders, affecting millions of people across the United States. When someone is diagnosed with this disorder, effective treatment is essential. Without treatment, many people who have anorexia nervosa will face serious complications that can continue to progress over time. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options are available to individuals with anorexia nervosa at eating disorder treatment centers throughout the country.

Choosing the right approach to treatment involves comparing all options carefully to determine which facility, program and approach fits best with the individual client’s needs and preferences. Below is some information to help potential clients and their loved ones better understand anorexia and the different treatment options that may be available.

About Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is typically defined when an individual has a very low body weight. Individuals with anorexia nervosa tend to be obsessed with maintaining a low weight and often experience an intense fear of gaining any weight. They may also have a distorted perception of their weight, believing themselves to be heavier than they are in actuality.

The symptoms an individual may experience are related to a lack of adequate nutrition and calories. Common symptoms include very low weight, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, swelling in the arms and legs, dehydration, low blood pressure, difficulty tolerating cold temperatures, dry skin, thin brittle hair and the absence of menstruation. Friends and family may also notice the individual eats very little or exercises excessively. Psychological symptoms of anorexia nervosa include social withdrawal, lack of emotion and irritability.

When anorexia nervosa is left untreated, it can lead to severe and even fatal complications. The lack of adequate nutrition over time may cause health problems such as anemia, electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, kidney dysfunction, loss of muscle, loss of bone and heart problems. In the worst cases, these complications can cause death.

Treatment Program Structures for Anorexia Nervosa

Treatment programs at an eating disorder recovery center come in several different forms. Choosing the right program structure is important for any individual working toward recovery. The two main structures available are residential and day treatment programs. A residential program provides continuous twenty four hour per day care for the duration of treatment. The client will complete all therapies and live in a supported home-link environment at the eating disorder recovery center. In a day treatment program, clients visit the treatment center only when they are actively participating in the program. When they are not in treatment, they are permitted to leave the facility and continue everyday activities.

Both residential and day treatment programs have advantages for clients and their families. In a residential treatment program, clients with anorexia nervosa benefit from more structure and a more intensive treatment experience. There is also typically a higher level of compliance, which potentially increases the likelihood of achieving a successful eating disorder recovery.

Day programs may not be as intensive, but instead provide a needed level of support to clients stepping down from a residential program or those in outpatient therapy that need a higher level of support. When a client is enrolled in a day treatment eating disorder recovery program, he or she can continue to work and live at home. If any triggers or difficult situations arise, the client has the support and structure of the day treatment program to help them remain on the path to recovery.

Length of Treatment

The amount of time an individual will need to spend in treatment to recover from an eating disorder will vary. While some clients may only need a few weeks of intensive treatment, others may need to complete a lengthy residential treatment program and then transition to a day treatment program.

Approach to Treatment

Different treatment programs employ different treatment approaches for anorexia nervosa. Some of the approaches that may be utilized include:

  • Holistic treatment programs:Holistic treatment programs aim to address every aspect of an eating disorder. These programs view the client as a “whole person”, and include therapies designed to treat the client’s mind, body and spirit as he or she recovers from anorexia nervosa.
  • Co-occurring programs: In some cases, an individual who has anorexia nervosa will also suffer from another disorder, such as a substance use disorder or another mental health problem. Co-occurring treatment approaches are designed to treat both disorders at the same time, as these disorders can perpetuate one another.
  • Alternative treatment programs:Some treatment programs have developed their own unique approach to the treatment of anorexia nervosa and may focus on alternative treatments not commonly used by other facilities, such as adventure therapy.

Specific Therapies

Regardless of the basic approach to anorexia nervosa treatment used at an eating disorder treatment center, most treatment programs employ more than one therapy to help clients overcome their disorder. The exact selection of therapies used will vary by facility. However, some of the most common therapies that may be used in the treatment of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Individual therapy:Many eating disorder treatment programs offer individual therapy, which involves meeting with an eating disorder therapist one-on-one to discuss issues related to the disorder, such as the factors that may have led to the development of anorexia nervosa, or exploring coping skills for dealing with potential triggers.
  • Behavioral therapies:Some eating disorder treatment centers use behavioral therapies to help clients change irrational or negative behaviors that have contributed to the development or the maintenance of anorexia nervosa. The most common examples of behavioral therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.
  • Group therapy:In group therapy, clients with anorexia nervosa interact with one another to discuss their disorders, provide and receive support. Group therapy sessions are moderated by a trained eating disorder therapist.
  • Family therapy:Anorexia nervosa treatment is often more successful when the client’s family and loved ones are involved in the treatment process. Family therapy involves inviting family members to the facility to participate in therapeutic sessions, either with or without the client. The purpose of family involvement may be to educate family members, discuss relationship issues or teach family members how to provide effective support to their loved one both during and after treatment.
  • Experiential therapies:Some eating disorder treatment programs include experiential therapies, which are alternative therapies that allow clients to express their creativity. Some of the most common examples include dance, art, music and psychodrama therapies.
  • Nutrition education and counseling:Most clients with anorexia nervosa have nutritional deficits. The purpose of nutrition education and counseling is to help clients address their nutritional deficits and adopt appropriate eating habits that will continue even after they leave treatment. Nutrition education will also teach clients to better understand and meet their bodies’ needs.
  • Mindful movement:Mindful movement is important for everyone, but many individuals with anorexia nervosa are either too weak to participate in these types of activities. Mindful movement, such as nature walks or yoga, are slowly re-integrated into the client’s lives and teach the clients to connect with their bodies and appreciate the different forms of movement. For clients who have a history of excessive exercise, the dietitian will work with the client to recognize the difference between mindful movement and excessive exercise.
  • Spirituality:Individuals with anorexia nervosa may benefit from therapies and other activities designed to enhance and support their spirituality. Examples include yoga, meditation and religious experiences.
  • Life skills and career counseling:Life skills and a reliable career can add stability to an individual’s life, which can be helpful for clients with eating disorders. Life skills training in treatment is designed to help clients develop these skills. Career counseling may also be available to clients who could benefit from this service.
  • Medical care:For many clients, anorexia nervosa can lead to serious health problems. Many anorexia nervosa treatment facilities offer medical care as an essential component of treatment. Medical care may include nursing care, visits with a physician, psychiatric services and medication management.

It is important to look for an anorexia nervosa treatment program that will customize the treatment experience to meet the needs of the individual client.


After completing treatment, many clients will benefit from ongoing eating disorder support. This support, sometimes referred to as “aftercare,” is not available at every treatment facility. Some eating disorder treatment facilities will offer more aftercare services than others; examples of aftercare services may include day therapy, support groups and related services.

Why You Should Be Selective About Eating Disorder Treatment

With so many programs available, it can be overwhelming for potential clients and/or their family members. However, being selective about eating disorder treatment is an important step as high quality anorexia nervosa treatment can support your loved one on the path to recovery. To make the best choice, potential clients and their family members should carefully review the program structure, approach to treatment and specific services available. Clients and their families should also consider the location of different facilities and the payment options available. In addition, clients planning to enter anorexia nervosa treatment should research the reputations and success rates of different facilities to learn more about the quality of care provided.

Monte Nido is a full-service eating disorder treatment facility. We offer both residential treatment and day treatment to meet the needs of each client and all of our treatment programs are customized to maximize effectiveness for each individual we treat. For the convenience of clients and their families, we have locations in California, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. To learn more about treatment at Monte Nido, please contact our facility today.

Monte Nido: A Trusted and Quality Care Program

It’s incredibly difficult to keep track of what each program provides and who each program “is” in the eating disorder industry. We know when a family asks you to recommend a program that treats eating disorders, you’re taking their lives in your hands. We know they ask you, “Does the program work? How do you know this program will help my loved one achieve recovery from their eating disorder?”

One of the reasons Monte Nido has been the leader for two decades is because we began tracking how effective our treatment was when we opened our doors in 1996 in Malibu, CA.  Subsequently, Monte Nido published the first and most respected outcome study of its kind and became the trusted name synonymous with “eating disorder treatment.” Our ten-year longitudinal, peer-reviewed research demonstrates our effectiveness and to what extent clients benefit long-term from treatment at Monte Nido. Our findings showed the following:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: 89% of clients were classified as having a good or intermediate outcome at 4.6 years post-graduation on average
  • Bulimia Nervosa: 81% of clients were classified as having a good or intermediate outcome at 3.8 years post-graduation on average

We’ve remained consistent with our treatment approaches because we know that they work. We’ve retained the core programmatic philosophy while always incorporating new evidence-based modalities as clinically indicated. California has been home to our two residential and two day treatment programs for twenty-two years; Monte Nido is proud to be the name you’ve trusted when you need a team of tenured clinicians and proven outcomes that your client will experience and benefit from.


For more information about Monte Nido please call 855.265.1958visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Ten Questions to Ask an Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Eating disorders are complex psychological conditions that affect close to 30 million people in the United States alone. Due to the complexity, it is important for those who have symptoms to seek the services of an eating disorder recovery center.

Eating Disorder Treatment Center Options

Before asking specific questions pertaining to an individual treatment center, it is important for any potential patient to understand what they should expect from an effective and high-quality binge eating disorder treatment center.

A comprehensive treatment program will provide different levels of care, including residential and day treatment, in order to facilitate lasting binge eating recovery. With these two levels of care, an individual is able to step down to a lower level of care, day treatment, when they are ready to take on more responsibilities, while maintaining a level of consistent support on the path to binge eating disorder recovery.

A holistic approach to eating disorder treatment has been shown to be the most successful; meaning patients should receive physical, psychological and medical treatment throughout their stay at the binge eating disorder center.

Good treatment centers offer tools designed to help prevent a relapse. The main tool being the utilization of step down options that help patients transition from a more intensive level of care to more responsibility and freedom, with continued support.

Finding a binge eating treatment center that is a good fit starts with asking treatment center staff the following questions: 

  1. Is residential treatment provided? What is it like? 

A person with an eating disorder needs to feel safe and secure in their surroundings. This can be partially accomplished by providing a home-like environment that allows the patient feel at ease and supported throughout their stay. Monte Nido provides luxurious accommodations with gorgeous views of their thoughtfully landscaped grounds. This natural and relaxed setting encourages recovery, acceptance and healing.

  1. What accreditations does the eating disorder treatment center hold? 

A licensed and accredited eating disorder treatment center is preferable for a number of reasons. Meeting the requirements of licensure and accreditation ensures the patient has access to high-quality care. Organizations such as the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium (REDC), the Joint Commission and the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) are highly respected within the industry and hold treatment centers who have been accredited to a high standard. Monte Nido holds an accreditation with all three organizations.

  1. What types of treatment are offered? 

While residential treatment is typically recommended, it may not be the option that works best for all patients. For example, day treatment is an option offered by an eating disorder treatment center and is best suited for individuals stepping down from a residential level of care or individuals currently in outpatient therapy that need a higher level of support.

At Monte Nido, individualized treatment is provided to every client. Supported living, as well as intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization options, are also available. With locations in California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon and Pennsylvania, Monte Nido is conveniently located to serve women, men and adolescents throughout the United States and abroad.

  1. Is the eating disorder treatment program individualized? 

No two patients are going to have the same experiences and challenges, even if seeking treatment for the same eating disorder. Additionally, a patient being treated for anorexia nervosa today is likely to require different goals, programming and approaches next week, next month and so on. Each patient must be met on her or his level and have his or her unique needs addressed. In order to be successful, the treatment center should regularly assess these changing needs and ensure programming is still providing the patient with the services and support to move them forward on the path to full recovery.

Clients who enter Monte Nido’s programs will find the ongoing support and re-assessment of needs to be a cornerstone of the treatment center’s collaborative approach. Based on the strong belief that each person possesses a healthy self at her or his core, Monte Nido uses a unique level system to provide empowerment, support and increased autonomy that builds the foundation to true recovery.

  1. What kind of therapeutic approach is used? 

The treatment center’s therapeutic approach can provide a potential client a great deal of information about their philosophy and treatment methods. Addressing the patient’s relationship with food is vital to his or her recovery; a comprehensive treatment center will dive deep to explore and address the underlying causes of these negative thoughts and behaviors and provide alternative, positive coping tools to utilize when triggered.

There are multiple areas that can be addressed while in treatment. Some components could include delving into the feelings a client has surrounding food and working toward a mindful and flexible relationship with food and movement. In this same area, learning to accept one’s natural body shape and size while working to improve her or his body image must also be addressed. Additionally, learning to express one’s feelings in a productive manner can be another important aspect of an individual’s binge eating disorder recovery.

Monte Nido’s therapeutic philosophy is grounded in a holistic and supportive approach. Working with each client without judgment and supporting him or her on the path to recovery. Monte Nido’s treatment team will work diligently to challenge each client’s eating disorder thoughts and behaviors, strengthen their resolve and nurture their positive coping habits and support system.

  1. Is the family supported as well? 

No one who is seeking an answer to the question “what is the best eating disorder treatment near me?” is doing so in a vacuum. Instead, he or she most likely has loved ones there to support the individual on the journey to recovery. It is important the treatment center understands and fosters the crucial role family members play in their loved one’s recovery and provide services that support the family unit.

At Monte Nido, family support takes several forms. The treatment team works closely with family members and significant others, if applicable, to help identify patterns that could negatively impact the client’s recovery.

Another component of Monte Nido’s approach is therapy. Depending on the needs of each individual client, a variety of family therapy options are available, including weekly multi-family groups, monthly two-day family weekends and individual family sessions.

  1. Is nutritional guidance provided? 

No comprehensive eating disorder treatment center is complete without thoroughly addressing the nutritional component of their clients’ treatment. It is important for clients to have access to a specially educated and eating disorder trained nutritionist. Nutrition therapy should be individualized for each client. The therapist needs to address the client where he or she is in their treatment, consider individual preferences and support the individual’s healthy self, while challenging the eating disorder self.

Monte Nido has an expert team of dietitians who work closely with each client every step of the way, helping clients develop a mindful and intuitive relationship with food and movement.

  1. What types of therapies are offered? 

Therapies offered by an eating disorder treatment center seek to address and explore the underlying causes of the eating disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, provides each client with a safe and supportive environment in which to address negative thought patterns. Once these patterns are identified, healthy coping skills are introduced when triggers arise.

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) uses behavioral and cognitive methods to support clients as they struggle with painful situations or emotions. Clients struggling with their emotions have found DBT to be successful.

Monte Nido offers a range of therapy options including CBT and DBT. In addition, they offer interpersonal and psychodynamic group therapy. Special groups address various topics including feelings and food, relapse prevention, stress, assertiveness and more.

  1. Does the center treat co-occurring conditions? 

As a matter of course, every client who enters a binge eating disorder treatment center should undergo a thorough medical and psychiatric assessment. This is the only way to accurately develop an individualized treatment plan. During this assessment, a client’s co-occurring conditions should be noted so they can be addressed during the formulation of the treatment plan.

The philosophy at Monte Nido involves the thorough assessment and treatment of any co-occurring condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, depression or bipolar disorder. Monte Nido believes their clients can become fully recovered; supporting their healthy self and challenging the eating disorder self.

  1. Are complementary therapies offered? 

Additional therapeutic experiences can provide a client with awareness, relaxation and a boost in their mood and healing. Designed to complement CBT and DBT, these therapies serve as a creative outlet.

While many therapeutic modalities offered at a binge eating disorder treatment center focus on the mind and emotions, a comprehensive program also acknowledges the effects mindful eating and movement has on recovery. Monte Nido provides clients access to an array of complementary therapies, including those mentioned above. These therapies may include nature walks, orthopedic services, yoga, chiropractic massage, physical therapy and more. Mindfulness and meditation are part of the recovery process at Monte Nido, including a body and soul group that is offered weekly.

Enriching, relaxing and fun outings and experiences, both those that have a food component and those that do not, are also part of the treatment plan for Monte Nido clients. Pottery, jewelry making, bowling, museums, equine therapy, plays, restaurants, beach outings and more are available.

At Monte Nido, many of the treatment team members are recovered. Providing a full range of services, activities, therapies and more, Monte Nido offers a supportive, encouraging and comfortable environment in which clients can rediscover their healthy self once again.