Movie and television stereotypes have played a large role in shaping our perceptions of what an eating disordered person looks like. Excessive caloric restriction, excessive exercise, and post-meal purging have long been depicted as symptoms of an eating disorder in popular culture.
An eating disorder doesn’t always manifest itself in the same way as this. Many people find themselves constantly eating large amounts of food and feeling as though they can’t stop. The term “binge eating disorder” refers to a type of eating disorder in which people lose control over their food intake on a regular basis, such as during the holidays.
Binge Eating Disorder: What Is It and How Can It Be Treated?
Anorexia and bulimia are well-known eating disorders, but binge eating disorder, despite being one of the most common, gets little attention.
Anorexics, who suffer from binge eating disorder, frequently consume large amounts of food in rapid succession. Stress-inducing situations can lead to a loss of control, which may cause them to overeat even when they aren’t hungry. This is followed by feelings of guilt or dissatisfaction.
Late teens and early 20s are the most common ages when people develop binge eating disorder. This eating disorder can affect men as well as women, despite popular belief. Binge eating disorder affects around one in six American teenagers, one in every three American women and one in every two American men, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Men are most likely to experience it in the middle of their lives, between the ages of 45 and 59.
Some people with a binge eating disorder are able to maintain a healthy weight despite their disorder. The rapid weight gain and other associated health issues associated with binge eating can also be a problem for many people. Over two-thirds of those who suffer from binge eating disorder end up obese, despite the fact that the majority of those with obesity don’t have the disorder. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are more common in those who suffer from a binge eating disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder Symptoms: What Are They?
In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) recognised binge eating disorder as an eating disorder. It had previously been referred to as “EDNOS,” a generic term that had no specific meaning (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).
Binge eating disorder may be diagnosed based on the following criteria:
- Binge-eating is a habit you’ve developed over time.
- You eat a lot faster than you normally would.
- You continue to eat until you are stuffed to the gills.
- Even if you’re not physically hungry, you eat a lot of food.
- Because you’re self-conscious about how much you’re eating, you eat alone.
- Feeling depressed or guilty after overeating is a common side effect of overeating
Bulimia nervosa, another common eating disorder, is often mistaken for binge eating disorder (BED). While bulimia involves regular compensatory behaviours after an episode, such as vomiting or other methods to get rid of calories or prevent weight gain, binge eating disorder does not. Binge eating disorder, on the other hand, may necessitate attempting to regulate the amount of food consumed in between binges.
What Is Binge Eating Disorder’s Biological Cause?
Although the exact cause of binge eating disorder is unknown, a number of risk factors have been identified. There is a link between childhood trauma and the development of binge eating disorder, such as critical comments about your weight. Some experts believe that there may be a genetic link to this eating disorder, which runs in some families.
Binge eating disorder may be exacerbated by psychological factors such as an increased sensitivity to dopamine (the brain chemical that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward), changes in the brain structure that lead to a higher response level to food, or other mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder that affect a person’s eating habits..
Binge eating episodes provide a temporary sense of security and calm for many people with binge eating disorder. They may even prepare for a binge in advance, anticipating the high it will provide. If left untreated, these episodes can lead to long-term regret, and the condition can last for years. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of binge eating disorder, it’s best to seek professional help as soon as possible.
What Is the Treatment for Binge Eating?
The first step toward recovery from binge eating disorder is making the decision to seek treatment. More than half of those who undergo treatment for binge eating disorders report being able to keep it under control afterward, according to the research.
Treatment options for binge eating disorder may focus on weight gain, low self-esteem, mental health issues, or a combination of these. Additionally, your doctor may check you for any mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, that may be linked to binge eating.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of several treatment options for people with binge eating disorder. CBT helps you identify the root causes of negative feelings about your eating habits or weight, and how to replace them with positive feelings.
For those suffering from binge eating disorder, the 12- to 16-week course of interpersonal psychotherapy can help pinpoint what personal issues led them to turn to binge eating as a coping mechanism. Antidepressants, for example, may be helpful in treating binge eating when used in combination with other medications. Binge eating disorder is often treated with medication in addition to behavioural therapies.
Self-esteem and a positive body image are key components of weight loss therapy, which can help manage binge eating disorder. However, obsessing over your weight or going on a diet can actually increase your chances of binge eating, so avoid doing so.
Certain strategies can also help you manage your triggers as you work on a suitable treatment plan with your provider. Mindfulness, exercise, a healthy diet, food journaling, and adequate sleep are a few examples of these practises. Support from loved ones, friends, a partner, a therapist online, or even a group of people who are also struggling with binge eating disorder can be extremely helpful.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Help a Family Member With Binge Eating?
Those who suffer from binge eating disorder may devise clever ruses to hide their illness, making it difficult for others to detect. In order to help someone you care about talk openly about binge eating disorder, you can express your concerns and offer your support in any way you can. You can accompany them to therapy or a doctor’s appointment if you want to assist them in contacting a professional.
Binge eating disorder isn’t a flaw in a person’s character. Regardless of one’s body shape or size, it is important to promote a healthy body image. Willpower alone will not be enough to cure an eating disorder. Treatment from a licenced mental health provider can help you avoid health issues, improve your self-esteem, and enhance your overall well-being. Make an appointment today with Talkspace online therapy, which is both affordable and convenient.