Warning Signs Of Binge Eating Disorder

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Warning Signs of Binge Eating Disorder

There is an alarming increase in the rates of obesity in America and around the world. Currently, we are seeing the highest percentage of overweight Americans in US history. Between 2017 and 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the prevalence of obesity among adults in the United States is 42 percent.

There are many factors that have contributed to this epidemic. One of the contributing factors to obesity in the U.S. is binge eating disorder.

Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder defined as the inability to control how much or how frequently a person eats on a daily basis. A person with binge eating disorder will eat in excess or compulsively. He or she will find themselves preoccupied with thoughts and cravings to eat. These thoughts and cravings are more intrusive and severe than simple hunger.

Binge eating is often triggered by stress. Whether it is stress at work, home or with relationships, a person who suffers from binge eating disorder will turn to food for comfort. Those who have experienced a traumatic event in their past are also at high risk of developing binge eating disorder. It is not uncommon for someone who has suffered from sexual trauma to binge eat in an effort to look undesirable.

Binge eating disorder is often confused with other eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. Each of these disorders have symptoms of binge eating. The key identifier of binge eating disorder is that there is no effort to compensate for the high calories consumed.

It is common to find binge eating disorder co-morbid, or existing simultaneously with, with other mood disorders. Such mood disorders include depression and anxiety. Those with binge eating disorder also have low self-esteem. They may be socially isolated and may feel ashamed or embarrassed of their eating habits.

Binge eating disorder will also cause an affected person to have difficulty focusing. This can be the result of several factors, including:

  • Cravings
  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling self-conscious about one’s presentation or performance.

Warning Signs of Binge Eating Disorder

Of course, sometimes we all overdo it. There is a line though, between indulging and binge eating. The first and most significant warning sign of binge eating disorder is when a person struggles to feel in control of their eating.

Those with binge eating disorder will feel out of control of their eating. They will eat when not hungry and even eat until they are in pain. Binge eating disorder goes beyond a habit of snacking. Those with binge eating disorder will eat quickly and compulsively.

A person will likely binge at least once a week and will experience things, like:

  • Depressed mood
  • Low motivation
  • Low self-esteem

It is hard to live with binge eating disorder but there is hope. Through the years, professionals have learned a great deal about what it means to have binge eating disorder and how to help patients return to themselves and overcome the disorder. With patience and effort you can regain control of your eating and your life.


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