What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder is uncontrollable overeating. A person suffering from binge eating is unable to stop when consuming abnormal amounts of food. It leads to feeling completely out of control. To be diagnosed with binge eating disorder, these overeating episodes occur at least twice a week for at least a six-month period. It can occur in individuals of normal weight, but it typically results in excessive weight gain or even obesity.
Individuals suffering from this disorder often hold a lot of disgust and guilt about their overeating behavior, which can lead to depression and/or anxiety. These negative emotions lead to more emotional binging, which then creates more guilt causing a vicious cycle. Food is used as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Causes of Binge Eating Disorder
Social, cultural, psychological, and biological factors can contribute to the development of this disorder. The social pressure to be thin, criticism about weight, and sexual abuse are examples of social and cultural factors and can increase the risk of binge eating. Psychological factors such as low self-esteem, depression, and body hatred can contribute to binge eating.
Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
Due to the shame and guilt associated with binge eating, it’s typically a pretty secretive disease and symptoms may be hidden.
Symptoms of binge eating disorder:
- Overeats even when feeling full
- Obsesses about food and can’t stop eating
- Suffers from numbness while binging
- Feels stress or anxiety
- Loses control over what is consumed
- Hides food to consume secretly
- Eats normally in public but binges alone
- Lacks being able to feel satiated
Binge eating disorder can cause many physical, social, and emotional complications:
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Insomnia or sleep apnea
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Gastrointestinal difficulties
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gallbladder disease
It’s important to seek professional help if struggling with binge eating disorder. Professional support is the most effective way to treat this disorder and includes nutritionists, therapists, and psychiatrists. It’s important to address the cause of the problem and then to learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with life stressors. Group therapy can be very helpful with binge eating disorder treatment as well. Click this link to find support groups near you.