Binge Eating Disorder

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Condition updated on July 13th, 2018

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a disorder that causes a person to lose control of his or her eating habits. A person with binge eating disorder is unable to control how much or how often he or she eats on a daily or weekly basis.

People with binge eating disorder will go on binges. On these binges they will overeat. This overeating can occur even when the patient is not hungry or has eaten until uncomfortably full. He or she will not likely make up for the food they eat with consistent dieting, exercise, or purging.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

There are several symptoms of binge eating disorder, but being overweight or obese is not one of them. People of all shapes and sizes can suffer from binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder itself does not always result in weight gain or obesity.

Symptoms that indicate that a person may be suffering from binge eating disorder include:

  • Overeating
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating quickly and without control
  • Flash-dieting or fad dieting without results
  • Preference to eating alone
  • Efforts to hide or conceal binge eating behavior
  • Food hoarding
  • Feeling out of control of binge eating behavior
  • Depressed mood and anxiety
  • Shame, guilt and disgust about eating behavior

Warning Signs For Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorder will feel like they cannot control their eating. They will eat a lot of food throughout the day and not consider the calories consumed.

People with binge eating disorder have low self-esteem and do not like their bodies. They also tend to be depressed and eat to cope with emotional stress and aggression.

Sometimes binge eating disorder runs in families. Research suggests there may be a genetic component to binge eating disorder.

It is important to consider the behavior modeled while growing up. For example, if you were taught bad eating habits, like using food as comfort or reward, you will learn to overeat and “emotional eat”.

Health Effects Of Binge Eating Disorder

There are many medical consequences for binge eating disorder including:

  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Kidney damage
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Cardiovascular issues

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Options

Binge eating disorder is difficult to manage, but with the help of medical and mental health services it is possible to regain control of your life. There are many mental health treatment options including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Helps with learning coping strategies to help the patient regain a sense of control.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) – Helps you understand emotions and how they contribute to binge eating. Also helps with stress tolerance skills.
  • Psychiatric intervention – Research has found antidepressants can be useful in treatment.

Your doctor can refer you to people who can help, like nutritionists, physical therapists, and mental health services. It is also important to talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, that are important for your recovery.

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