Like the word love, the word binge is bandied about and used to mean many things. Let’s define it here and now. The dictionary definition of the word binge is “a period of excessive indulgence; a spree.” The word indulge implies giving in to a whim. In other words, you lack control over your behavior. This leads to the idea that what you are doing is bad.
At this time, I have not been able to find any official criteria for defining what amounts to a binge. There are no rules of measurement to determine how much food, alcohol, or drugs someone has to ingest for it to be a binge, How many dollars must be spent by a shopaholic? How many hours does a binger have to spend at the computer, porn site, shopping mall, slot machine or poker table to count as a binge?
A binge is an episode of uncontrolled activity. In the case of food, some health professionals would like to use the amount of calories consumed as a rule of thumb, with 2,000 calories being the low limit. One bulimic was reported to have consumed 50,000 calories during one binge episode.
The nature of the binge is, therefore, important to understand because there is great variety in amounts of food or liquid ingested, time or duration of the binge, and emotional states experienced by the binge eater. I have spoken to people who feel anxious and filled with self-hatred after eating only six cookies. Their feelings are as strong as those of people who have downed six dozen cookies. I have had clients who binged by spending $20 in a thrift store while others drop hundreds in boutiques.
Emotional energy characterizes the experience of a binge experience. It is as if the addict were caught up in a tidal wave that starts slowly and carries him or her along to a greater and greater feeling of frenzy and panic. S/he gets lost in the binge, finding a temporary respite from emotional pain. One bulimic said that during her ten-year binge/purge experience she felt numb most of the time.
The way to heal binge behavior is by realizing that the craving is created by stress that the binger is running away from. The way to get to the heart of it is not by focusing on the food, drink, drugs, money or computers, it is focusing on the INTENSITY of the craving. How much did the binger “gotta have it, ingest it or act out.” Give that a number from 1-10 with 10 being the most intense. Then ask, “What in my life right now is a 10?” Whatever that is, use an Energy Psychology method to heal and release it. Then notice what changes.