Binge-eating disorder is a very serious eating disorder where someone frequently consumes large amounts of food and feels powerless to stop eating.
Almost all of us will overeat on occasions, but for some people this is much more serious. For these people the excessive overeating and bingeing becomes a regular occurrence and they feel unable to control their bine-eating. This is when it can become a problem.
When you have this binge-eating disorder, you will often feel embarrassed and commit yourself to stop this overeating. But you feel such a compulsion to eat and feel that you are unable to resist the urges to eat. The good news is that there is hope and there is treatment available for you.
At The Center • A Place of HOPE we have experienced and qualified health professionals who can help you through your binge-eating and onto the road to recovery.
Signs and Symptoms of binge-eating disorder
Most people who suffer with binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese. But you may have a normal weight, so this isn’t always a sign of binge-eating disorder.
Some of the common emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms of binge-eating disorder are:
- Eating an unusually large amount of food in a small amount of time, like over a couple of hours.
- Feeling that you are unable to control your eating.
- Eating even when you are not hungry, or continuing to eat even if you feel full.
- Eating very quickly during a binge session.
- Frequently eating alone or secret eating.
- Feeling guilty, ashamed, disgusted or upset about your eating.
- Feeling depressed about your eating habits.
- Frequently dieting, possibly without losing any weight.
Binge-eating disorder is different from bulimia as you wouldn’t normally try to get rid of the excess calories by vomiting, using laxatives or exercising excessively. Binge-eaters usually try to diet or eat normal meals to try to lose weight, but this restricted diet sometimes leads to more binge-eating episodes.
Serious potential health risks from binge-eating disorder
Binge-eating disorder can lead to some very serious health complications, both physical and emotional. People who have binge-eating disorder are more likely to suffer from stress, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts than those who don’t have an eating disorder.
One of the most common side effects of binge-eating disorder is obesity. Obesity is a serious condition and some of the medical complications that are linked with obesity are:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type II Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancers
- Joint and muscle pains
- Shortness of breath
- Gallbladder disease
- Digestive and gastrointestinal problems
- Severe fatigue
Psychiatric disorders that have often been linked with binge-eating disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and substance abuse disorders.
Causes of binge-eating disorder
Binge-eating disorder is more common in women, than in men. It is estimated to affect about 3% of the US population, which is around 4 million people.
There is still research as to the cause of binge-eating disorder but some of the contributing factors may be:
- Genes – eating disorders tend to run in the family, so if your mother or grandmother binged, you are more likely to suffer with this disorder. This may indicate that inherited genes do increase your risk of developing an eating disorder.
- Depression – if you are depressed, you are more likely to binge eat. About half of the people with binge-eating disorder, also suffer with depression. Research isn’t clear if depression causes binge-eating disorder or vice versa.
- Low self- esteem – Often people who binge eat are unhappy with the way they look and often have a poor body image. Such low self-esteem can lead to binge-eating, but then is quickly followed by feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings can lead to more overeating.
- Stress and anxiety – some people will overeat after they have gone through a stressful or traumatic event such as a divorce or losing a loved one. Emotional eating may be a temporary thing and may not be a true binge-eating disorder.
Treatment for binge-eating disorder
There is help available for you if you feel you do have a binge-eating disorder. It is important to seek help from an experienced health care professional that deals with eating disorders.
Some tips you can try yourself, although it is important to seek professional help, are to keep a food diary as this will help you to learn when you tend to binge and also see what else is going on around you that causes you to binge. Eating regular meals throughout the day can help to keep your blood sugar more stable and help you to not feel hungry which may lead to a binge. It is important to also think about why you are bingeing and maybe keeping a journal can help you to understand why you are bingeing and what your triggers are.
You don’t have to go through this alone though, at The Center • A Place of HOPE we believe in whole person care that will address every are of your life to help you to have the best treatment tailored to you and your disorder.
Our assessments include fitness, medical health, nutritional health, family history and background, your career and your everyday hobbies and sports. This well-rounded approach to assessment and treatment can help us to ensure we are giving you the best level of care tailored to you, the individual.
Our eating disorder treatment team comprises of psychologists, registered nurses, medical doctors, psychologists, fitness professionals, counselors, nutritionists, and dieticians.
Treatment for binge-eating disorder often entails talk therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy or counselling, as well as maybe some medications especially if there is underlying anxiety or depression. But your health professional will prescribe the right treatments for you.
You are not alone, there is help available for you.