binge eating in evening: My 17 year old... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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binge eating in evening

FriendlyMama profile image
7 Replies

My 17 year old daughter is struggling with binge eating, often in the evening but also before her ADHS meds have kicked in. She’s currently taking and methylphenidate ER in the morning and a booster in the afternoon. We’ve talking with her therapist and psychiatrist about this but haven’t made noticeable progress yet. She’s frustrated, upset with herself, doesn’t like how she feels after she’s over-eaten and is uncomfortable in her body. She has also gained 30# in the last two years while on medication. Any advice/suggestions?

7 Replies
ELucas13 profile image

Vyvanse is used to treat ADHD and binge eating. It may be a good option to look into. She also may just be super hungry once medication wears off. Having a routine eating through the day, even when not hungry, may be helpful. She may have less cravings or compulsion to eat at night.

I'm sure she feels very out of control when she's eating, and that's a terrible feeling. Getting a nutritionist on board in addition to her therapy would be helpful. Having a positive relationship with food is important for everyone, but especially if she's bordering any sort of disordered eating.

On the ADDitude website, there are resources for ADHD in conjunction with eating disorders. I listened to this webinar before and it may be helpful:

If she feels she's about to binge, you can sit with her, get her mind off of things, or maybe even agree in advance to what she will eat.

If there are certain foods that seem to trigger a binge episode, maybe keep them in small portions or keep them out of the house. I believe in intuitive eating, where no food is bad, but listening to your body and making smart decisions as best as you can for your health. It may be that some foods need not be off limits, but just not easily accessible for now. I also think eating not to be a size or weight, but to be healthy and feel good, is a better way to look at food.

One of my favorite quotes is from Anne of Green Gables , "Everyday is fresh with no mistakes." So when she feels poorly, let her know that each day and even each minute she can take back the control she feels she loses when she binge eats. Stopping, regrouping, and being mindful, she has the opportunity to get to a healthy mindset. Not all is lost in an episode of binging and it need not define her any more than her ADHD need to define her.

BVBV profile image

I would definitely with her Doctor, but my son recently began taking Saffron and I didn’t realize that there have been studies that show it can help with binge eating/overeating:

erickson335 profile image
erickson335 in reply to BVBV

Can you tell me what brand or type of saffron your son is taking

BVBV profile image

My son uses the Double Wood brand which I purchase from Amazon.

Onthemove1971 profile image

I will say a few years ago we were concerned about our son's eating. We discussed it with his thearpist, who asked us a number of question ( which are all symptoms of an eating disorder, all did not appy) so he did not feel we needed to worry about it. In my opinion, the side effects of ADHD impacts all areas of our son's life. The hardest symptom is impulse control. The only thing that help him the most is medication.

We have a lock on our pantry so he does not have access to it. This has helped the most to not allow him to over eat things. Until he has more maturity, the lock will stay. This may be until he goes away to college.

Of course tied into over eating is exercise and making sure our son every single day gets plenty of exercise or he will be bouncing off the walls. This is a daily challange, but we are lucky becuase he loves a sport and asks everyday to play it. We have also included Tae Kwan Do in the evening time to keep him busy. Downtime is his enemy.

Hope this helps and hope you get the help you need for your daughter.

We are always here for you.

Peerandparent profile image

Restricting access is not a sustainable solution, as your daughter will not figure out how to manage it without that outside control. It may be a short term solution or a circuit breaker, so to speak, to disrupt the pattern of behaviour, but in the long run she needs to understand what leads to binging and what strategies are effective.

The binging could be an impulse control issue, hunger post-meds (because of the meds' appetite suppression), a budding eating disorder, or a response to anxiety. Without understanding what's going on, certain solutions will hurt more than help.

1) Make sure she's eating enough during the day,

2) Identify patterns and drives.

3) Look for harm reduction strategies

a) substituting a snack food for a healthier option that scratches the same itch, (for my own anxiety, having a glass of water sometimes helps more than comfort eating)

. b) portioning snacks (like putting some chips in a bowl instead of sitting down with the whole bag, or portioning snacks into sandwich bags)

c) teach her mindful eating, in particular, make sure she's not looking at a screen while eating

4) Figure out how much of a health problem it is, and make a mindful choice of how much time and effort to invest in addressing the issue. Make sure your efforts do not significantly exceed your daughter's concern, provided she is making informed decisions.

5). Make sure your daughter has a bit of latitude while you work on this, and try to avoid judging her for behaviour that is likely beyond her ability to effectively control

6) Keep the conversation going!

HurricaneMom profile image

As an adult who has taken a stimulant for about 20 years - limiting access to preferred foods and/or a very light afternoon dose timed to last just until bedtime are the best ways of avoiding bingeing. I can’t keep candy, pizza, or cookies in my house because I tend to overeat when they’re around (Halloween is a dangerous time).

It’s hard to tell someone to stop eating because what most don’t realize is that when the medicine wears off the urge to eat is absolutely insane like a physical ache and even eating moderately throughout the day won’t really help. I can feel the meds wear off because I immediately get crabby, hungry and tired. At one point I had lost my job and didn’t have health insurance. The 2 months off of the stimulant were incredibly difficult and I gained a bunch of weight even though I wasn’t dealing with the daily rebound effect. The receptors in the brain are getting a super dose of dopamine and norepinephrine so when it stops you crash hard (I’ve been told it’s quite similar to being addicted to meth).

I take an extended release that gets me about 8 hours. Then I take a small afternoon dose that lasts about 4 more. Still not ideal, but at least I can function.

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