Binge Eating Disorder

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Condition updated on November 7th, 2018

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a disorder that causes a person to lose control of their eating habits. A person with binge eating disorder is unable to control how much or how often they eat on a daily or weekly basis. The tendency to overeat tends to worsen when the affected person is stressed or overwhelmed.

People with binge eating disorder will go on binges. On these binges they will overeat. Overeating can occur even when the affected person is not hungry or has eaten until uncomfortably full. They will typically not make efforts to make up for the calories they consume 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

Causes and 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. The habit of binge eating can be caused by several factors that have had an influence on the affected person’s life.

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

Binge eating has a major effects on an affected person’s health.There are many medical consequences for binge eating disorder including:

  • Obesity
  • Insomnia
  • 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. It is hard to learn how to stop binge eating on your own, so it is important to seek professional counseling if you are suffering.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Helps with learning coping strategies to help the affected person regain a sense of control.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) – Helps the effected person understand emotions and how they contribute to binge eating. DBT 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. You can also to talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise regiments that are important for your recovery.

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