Binge Eating Disorder

Learn here about the symptoms, key factors, effects and treatment of a Binge Eating Disorder.

Just about everyone finds that they overeat from time to time. Take the Thanksgiving Day meal or the Christmas festivities. If you happen to have a late study session or are cramming for exams, you may down a whole bag of chips..

However, when this becomes an uncontrollable and regular habit, then you have to accept the fact that you may be suffering from binge eating disorder. Binge eaters go to food when they have to cope with stress or other negative emotions. However, their compulsive eating habits just makes these people feel worse. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Binge eating disorder is treatable. It takes some professional help and probably a support group, but you can learn to break the cycle and stop binge eating.

Symptoms of binge eating

A binge eater consumes a huge amount of different foods while having the feeling of being powerless to stop and out of control. A binge episode will usually last about two hours but there are some people who binge all day long on and off.

You will find that binge eaters will eat even though they are not hungry and they will continue to eat long after they have reached the full level. Binge eaters may go on a gorging rampage eating food as fast as possible and hardly even registering what they have eaten.

Key symptoms of binge eating disorder:

  • Frequent episodes of uncontrollable binging
  • A fealing of extreme distress or being upset during or after a binging episode
  • There are no attempts to "make up" for binging by fasting, vomiting or over-exercising
  • Having feeling of guilt, depression and disgust after a binge
  • Causes of binge eating

    Ask the experts and they will say that different things come into play with binge eaters – a person’s genes, experience and emotions. If you seek out certain studies, you will find that biological abnormalities are a contributing factor toward binge eating.

    For instance, the hypothalamus, which is part of the brain that controls appetite, may be sending incorrect messages about fullness and hunger. Researchers have also found that there is a genetic mutation that seems to cause binging. It also appears that low levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain, may also play a role in compulsive eating.

    Binge eating and depression are strongly linked. It appears that up to half of all binge eater have been or are depressed. Loneliness, low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction all play a part in binge eating..

    Effects of bingeing

    When a person binges, this leads to various emotional, physical and social problems. People that suffer from binge eating report more health issues, insomnia, stress and suicidal thoughts than people without this disorder.

    Some other common side effects are anxiety, depression and substance abuse. When a person binges, this also interferes with a person’s career and relationships.

    However, the most prominent effect of bingeing is weight gain. Then one is filled with feeling of low self-esteem. Obesity will also cause a host of other medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, heart disease and high cholesterol just to name a few.

    The higher your body mass index is, the greater is your risk for health problems.

    Treatment and help

    It can be quite difficult to overcome food addiction and binge eating. A healthy relationship with food must be developed. Aim should be that the food is meeting your nutritional needs and will not be meeting your emotional needs.

    Psychotherapy can be a good tool in order to get a handle on your binge eating. However, it involves not only a financial commitment but a commitment of time as well.

    An important component in your road to wellness is to monitor you food intake. You must also identify triggers and try to develop alternative reactions to them.

    Exercise is an important element toward a binge eater’s wellness. Exercise is also a very good avenue for relieving anxiety and stress.

    A binge eater must come to accept his or her body. Many of these people do not get down to a BMI of 25 or less. They are going to have to accept their shape and regain their self-confidence. This can be done through psychotherapy.

    Unfortunately, there are no magic pills to help with binge eating disorder. However, there are some medications that may decrease the desire to eat.

    There are many materials available that can help break the binge eating cycle. Other people do well with a group therapy kind of setting. Many people find that a 12-step program works for them. 

    Eating disorders are dangerous to both the psyche and the body and it is of utmost importance that you catch it before damage to the body occurs. 

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