Binge Eating Disorder is one of the newest and yet most common disorders.
According to a National Survey done in the United States, Binge Eating is the most common of the eating disorders. Last week I spoke about Bulimia which is quite similar to this one. The individual eats large amounts of food over a period of time. They will directly link food consumption with their emotions; eating as a coping mechanism for being sad, angry, guilty and so on. This eating feels compulsive and uncontrollable to them. The only difference is that those with Binge Eating do not make any efforts to remove the food out of the body as a Bulimic might. This means that this group of people are typically overweight and easy to spot.
The binging does not have to occur every day for a diagnosis as people usually binge two to three times per week and may have normal or even healthy eating on other days. A diagnosis is typically made if someone has had an average of three binges per week over the last six months.
Like all eating disorders, it can be developed in both genders but is more popular among women. It can also be developed at any age but typically begins during adolescence.
It is highly correlated with a wide variety of physical and mental illnesses.
People who compulsively overeat subject themselves to fast and unhealthy weight gain which put a major stress on the body. This overeating makes cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension. Muscle/joint pain and gastrointestinal difficulties much more likely.
Someone with Binge Eating Disorder is also more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders than someone who does not have it. They often seclude themselves by withdrawing from friends and family as well as any activity that they previously enjoyed.
There are numerous causes of Binge Eating Disorder which are also very similar to the others.
There is a biological component which means that one is more likely to develop the disorder if other members of the family suffer from it. There are also a few hormonal irregularities or genetic mutations that may cause it.
People who are dissatisfied with the way they look or feel as well as have low self-esteem or self-confidence are much more likely to develop any eating disorders.
There are also social and environmental causes such as trauma or abuse of any kind, as well as the previously spoken about social pressure to be thin.
People who are constantly told about their weight or the importance of it are also at risk.
If you think you may be suffering from Binge Eating Order but want to be sure, please honestly answer the following questions. If you answer yes to three or more, then you are most likely suffering from the disorder.
1. Do you often think about food/planning meals even if you are not hungry?
2. Do you eat large amounts and continue eating even when full, as if you have no control?
3. Do you always feel uncomfortably full after eating?
4. Do you feel embarrassed or guilty after eating?
5. Do you tend to hide your eating from family/friends? (this can range from eating alone in a room or sneaking food)
6. Do you feel heavy amounts of stress that you feel can only be relieved through eating?
While Binge Eating is severe and can even be life-threatening, let’s not forget that it is treatable.
This treatment is not unlike other eating disorders.
The first step would not only be to identify that there is a problem but also what is causing the problem. What are the emotional triggers that cause you to turn to food? Are there certain foods that may trigger you to want to eat more?
I suggest that you make a list of new and healthy coping skills that may be able to replace the eating. What else makes you feel good? Do you have any hobbies? Are there any new activities that you wanted to try? Now would be the time.
General counselling and talk therapy would also be very beneficial during the recovery process. This is basically how you will work to figure out all of the above.
Please feel free to write in and let me know if you would like to seek treatment for your eating disorder.
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