Binges can be a way of letting off steam for someone who feels compelled to “always be good”.
If the person is overwhelmed with responsibilities, and has difficulty saying no to family, work, or requests to volunteer for the local charity, the binge may seem to be the only way to have some time all for her or himself. Typically, the binge on food, alcohol, or some other activity or substance is offers the excuse to “go off duty”, because when chemically altered or in the throes of a compulsion they are incapable of working, or meeting other obligations.
Of course, following the binges are the consequences: guilt, unfulfilled responsibilities, potential long term health issues, not to mention, lower self esteem, and a nagging sense of self sabotage that may also come into play.
Usually the person feels trapped by competing impulses, and wants to have one set of values, the” good ones”, win out over the other ones.
One approach from NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) offers a negotiated settlement that satisfies both sets of desires and needs. Ultimately the destructive impulses are intended to gain for the person a balance of some sort. Then may need rest, to express creative or spontaneous energies, or just to release accumulated tensions. They may just need to be able to say no to something that they don’t want to do.
The key is to realize that both sides have positive intentions, fulfilling duties versus freedom to play, for example, and to find a way for each side to get at least some of what it wants.
The solution will not include an acceptable amount of binging, but rather a new set of healthy choices that may include just taking guilt free personal time, even if there are some pressing requests from the family or the boss. The result is the empowerment that comes from being able to “just say no” and mean it.