Binge eating disorder is characterized by compulsive overeating in which people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control and powerless to stop. The symptoms of binge eating disorder usually begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. A binge eating episode typically lasts around two hours, but some people binge on and off all day long. Binge eaters often eat even when they’re not hungry and continue eating long after they’re full.
THE KEY FEATURES OF BINGE EATING DISORDER ARE:
People with binge eating disorder struggle with feelings of guilt, disgust, and depression. They worry about what the compulsive eating will do to their bodies and beat themselves up for their lack of self-control.
Binge eating often leads to weight gain and obesity. It becomes a vicious cycle: eating to feel better, feeling even worse, and then turning back to food for relief.
SYMPTOMS OF BINGE EATING DISORDER
Frequent episodes of eating what others would consider an abnormally large amount of food
Frequent feelings of being unable to control what or how much is being eaten
Eating much more rapidly than usual
Eating until uncomfortably full
Eating large amounts of food, even when not physically hungry
Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten
Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating
Fluctuations in weight
Feelings of low self-esteem
Loss of sexual desire
People with binge eating disorder are embarrassed and ashamed of their eating habits, so they often try to hide their symptoms and eat in secret. Many binge eaters are overweight or obese, but some are of normal weight.
Over time, compulsive overeating usually leads to obesity. Obesity, in turn, causes numerous medical complications, including:
*Certain types of cancer
*Joint and muscle pain
*Type 2 diabetes
*High blood pressure
Exact cause of binge eating disorder is still unknown. Like other eating disorders, binge eating disorder seems to result from a combination of psychological, biological, and environmental factors.
Nearly half of all people with binge eating disorder have a history of depression, although the exact nature of the link is unclear. Many people report that anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety, or other negative emotions can trigger an episode of binge eating.
Eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, tend to run in families, suggesting that a susceptibility to eating disorders might be inherited. Some parents unwittingly set the stage for binge eating by using food to comfort, dismiss, or reward their children. Children who are exposed to frequent critical comments about their bodies and weight are also vulnerable, as are those who have been sexually abused in childhood.
Biological abnormalities can contribute to binge eating. For example, the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls appetite) may not be sending correct messages about hunger and fullness.
People with binge eating disorder have often had long periods of dieting. Whether or not they want to lose weight, should get help from a health professional specialist such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker for their underlying psychological issues and normalize eating patterns.
Eating disorders require a comprehensive treatment plan that is adjusted to meet the needs of each patient. In order to stop the unhealthy pattern of binge eating, it’s important to start eating for health and nutrition. Healthy eating involves making balanced meal plans, choosing healthy foods when eating out, and making sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals in your diet. The goals for treatment of binge-eating disorder are to reduce eating binges, to improve your emotional well-being and, when necessary, to lose weight.
Cognitive behavioral therapy .
Cognitive-behavioral therapy educates individuals how to keep track of and change their unhealthy eating habits. The individual needs to eat regular meals and snacks to normalize their eating patterns. It also teaches them individuals how to change their thoughts so they can effectively deal with their emotions.
Interpersonal psychotherapy also can help these individual to build effective relationships and make necessary changes in problem areas.
Drug therapy, such as antidepressants, may also be helpful to decrease depression or anxiety to help give the individuals more of a chance to utilize their newfound coping skills. Certain antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors might be used to help control anxiety and depression associated with an eating disorder. Other types of medicines have begun to receive research attention to possibly help reduce binging behavior, such as the anticonvulsants Topamax or Zonegran.
Topamax – The seizure drug topiramate, or Topamax, may decrease binge eating and increase weight loss. However, Topamax can cause serious side effects, including fatigue, dizziness, and burning or tingling sensations.
Self-prescribing any medication, especially antidepressant medication, is extremely dangerous. It can even be fatal. Always consult a primary care doctor or mental health professional before taking any medication.
Psychotherapy, whether in individual or group sessions, can help teach you how to exchange unhealthy habits for healthy ones and reduce bingeing episodes.
Support for binge eating disorder
If you think you might have binge eating disorder, it's important to know that you are not alone. It is important that family members understand the eating disorder and recognize its signs and symptoms. People with eating disorders might benefit from group therapy, where they can find support, and openly discuss their feelings and concerns with others who share common experiences and problems.
Most people who have the disorder have tried but failed to control it on their own. You may want to get professional help. Talk to your health care provider about the type of help that may be best.