Binge Eating Disorder: Definition, Symptoms, Health Issues, Treatment
Binge Eating Disorder is troubling your health both physically and mentally. Your life is afflicted by constant food cravings. Eating is the only thought that makes you feel good in your day. You want to eat whole day. This is making you binge on high quantity of food. You feel wrecked and helpless in controlling your eating behavior. And now, you seriously want help and wish to end this eating disorder. This article will help you overcome from binge eating disorder. You will be able to discover new ways to end binge eating without a professional help.
Binge Eating Disorder Definition
Binge Eating Disorder is an eating disorder where you put to binge eating foods in abnormal quantities. Frequent episodes of eating and still you are not able to satisfy your cravings for food . Your inability to control your eating behavior lands you with embarrassment. You become conscious about your body weight and body shape. This embarrassment and consciousness can create a feeling of distress where you will feel shameful about yourself.
Binge Eating Disorder Statistics
- The binge eating disorder affects 2.8 million people in the US.
- This eating disorder prevails more in women than in men.
- Around 3.5% of women suffer from this disorder whereas this data is 2% for men.
- The Binge eating disorder can hit anytime in life irrespective of your age, group or race.
- Females are likely to experience it more during their late teen age or early adulthood. Males experience this disorder more during their mid age.
- The Binge Eating Disorder is even prevailing at a rate more than breast cancer.
- The numbers of patients of BED are three times more than people suffer from bulimia and anorexia combined. But only 3% of such BED patients are able to get the right diagnosis.
- Around 30% people who are diagnosed as overweight and is in the attempt of losing weight meets the criterion of having binge eating disorder.
The facts and figures of Binge Eating Disorder create an alarming concern. This concern can be dealt and you can overcome from the binge eating disorder completely. It just needs the right diagnosis and treatment.
Binge Eating Disorder Symptoms
You may be overweight or suffering from severe obesity but these conditions alone can`t qualify you for having a binge eating disorder. The bio markers of binge eating disorders are exclusive. You need to look for these indications in order to overcome or help binge eating disorder.
- Eating abnormal amounts of food in one sitting at least as compared to a normal person.
- You eat until you get uncomfortably full.
- Eating lot and that too very frequent.
- You always feel like eating irrespective you are hungry or not.
- Feel comfortable in eating alone so no one can see how much you eat.
- You get a feeling of self disgust and guilt immediately after you eat a lot.
- Indulge in binge eating once or more per week. And, it stays for three or more months in a row.
Mostly all of us tend to overeat at some day or at a special occasion. We often sometimes eat until we get uncomfortable full. Binge eating sometimes happen but it doesn`t mean you have a disorder. A Binge eating disorder is present only if you feel the above mentioned indicators very often and frequent.
What is the health issues involved with binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder can cause you an array of health problems. This eating disorder is not just limited to health problems. Instead it can cause devastating effects on your personal life, social life and can affect your relationships as well. Having an eating disorder like BED, negatively impacts every organ of your body. Let us see the potential health issues involved with binge eating disorder.
a) Gastrointestinal Issues with Binge Eating
People with binge eating disorder experience host of GI issues. The most common among these are constipation, abdominal bloating, gas, heartburn and diarrhea . The other reported gastrointestinal issues with binge eating include Gall Bladder Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Gastroesophageal Refux Disease (GERD)  . A more severe case of binge eating disorder can also cause stomach rupture and can create a life threatening situation .
b) Cardiovascular Issues with Binge Eating
Cardiovascular issues like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart diseases are often associated with binge eating disorder . The individuals who tend to binge eat are generally overweight and can get heart problems easily. Also, the risk of hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and hypertension is high among sufferers of BED . These medical conditions can cause complication like congestive heart failure.
c) Endocrine Issues with Binge Eating
The Binge Eating Disorder can influence your endocrine system along with your circulatory systems. Having a BED increases your chances of getting an endocrine disorder by 2 times. The chance of getting circulatory system disorder can also get hiked by 1.9 times . The overweight BED sufferers can also experience insulin resistance, metabolic damage and thyroid issues. Women with binge eating disorder can also suffer fertility problems.
d) Neurological Issues with Binge Eating
The individuals who generally binge eats during the bed time are at a high risk of sleep apnea. This condition can cause person to stop breathing regularly during sleep. The BED can impact the why your brain functions. You can get neurotransmitter disruptions, weakened response, and difficulty in thinking .
e) Mental Health Issues with Binge Eating
An individual who are affected with binge eating disorder will suffer a lot of mental health issues. You will experience low mood, depression, anxiety and behavioral changes. Due to these conditions, your brain releases a lot of stress hormone which can cause dizziness, headache and weight gain.
What causes Binge Eating Disorder?
It is difficult to pin point the exact cause of binge eating disorder. There is not even a lot of research that can confirm the cause of BED. However, this eating disorder looks to be a result of variety of factors. These factors can be responsible for triggering binge eating disorder.
a) Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety turns on your negative emotional state of mind. You find no happiness, no joys in anything. You turned yourself to eat more which provides a temporary distraction and relief from anxiety and depression. Eating tasty foods causes your brain to release a chemical known as dopamine. The Dopamine release is a system of your brain to make you feel rewarded .
When you are depressed, you switch to eating more to get relieved. But, hardly have you known that you are getting trapped in a vicious circle of binge eating. You need to eat more and more to get same levels of dopamine in your brain. This causes you end up eating more and you suffer a binge eating disorder.
You might think how can your genetics be linked with binge eating disorder? There are no clear answers but it is believed that chance of getting BED is increased 10 times if someone in your family has an eating disorder.
A research done by the researchers of Boston University School of Medicine has identified a specific gene association with binge eating . According to the study, the Cytoplasmic FMR1-interacting protein 2 (CYFIP2) is a genetically relative factor to binge eating disorder.
c) Emotional Factors
Emotional Factors can largely contribute to binge eating disorders. Stressful events like separation, deaths, and accidents can lead to undesirable effects on your body. One of such effects can be binge eating disorder. According to a survey, the patients suffering from BED have reported traumatic events in their life in past six months .
d) Restrictive Dieting
Restrictive Dieting can trigger binge eating disorder in individuals. A severe calorie restriction can put severe health risks and can be very dangerous. When you make your body starve, it slows body metabolism in order to meet the calorie deficit. It can cause you to overeat and binge on foods in return. You can also end up gaining weight and become obese which can further enhance the chance of getting eating disorders.
e) Social Factors
Social pressure can also trigger binge eating disorder among individuals. Our society has created a false image of a perfect body which is very far from being healthy and fit. This so called perfect body creates an environment of stress, anxiety and restrictive dieting. All these factors can slowly drag you towards binge eating disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
The binge eating disorder treatment starts with not hiding your problem and instead speaking to someone about it. People with binge eating disorder feels shameful about their state and even hide from their parents as well as their friends. The only way to conquer binge eating is to open up and then go for actual treatment.
You can initially do a self evaluation to help binge eating disorder by taking a simple questionnaire. The next comes on the list is the actual treatment. The treatment of this eating disorder starts with an individual tailored plan for your specific needs. It generally includes combination of therapies that will help you take control over your eating behavior. The treatment can further extend to taking medications to help binge eating.
Do you have Binge Eating Disorder?
Taking self evaluation can help you know your condition better. You can take these simple questions.
- Have you experienced binge eating more than once?
- How often you experience binge eating?
- Do you eat more than normal in one sitting?
- Don`t you feel like giving away food until you become uncomfortably full?
- Do you get food cravings when you are sad, angry or stressed?
- Do you like to eat alone?
The answers to these questions will help you understand your binge eating disorder better. Also, writing down the answers can help your therapist run the right line of treatment.
Binge Eating Tests
You should go for some tests before going for a binge eating treatment. It will help you eliminate all the potential health risks on your body and its organs. These can include running tests for
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal Disorder
- Gall bladder disease
- Blood Pressure
- Personality Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Liver Disease
Binge Eating Therapy
Your eating disorder therapist will first look down for underlying causes of why you put to binge eating. And then will run a therapy to control both the underlying cause and the eating disorder. The therapy which helps binge eating disorder is known as psychotherapy. This therapy includes
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Going for CBT can help you understand your trigger points for binge eating. This therapy in particular will tell you the emotional triggers of binge eating. It will help you deal with your feelings and thoughts that make you binge eat.
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
The interpersonal therapy will help you deal with binge eating problems that are triggered due to relationship problems. It will give you a control over your interpersonal skills and become able to handle your relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Taking this therapy, you will learn to cope with stress, anxiety in a better way. It will help you learn behavioural skills and will enhance your bonds with others. This way you will be able to manage your binge eating disorder in a right way.
Tweaking Nutrition strategy
A right nutritional strategy will improve your relationship with food. You then become able to improve your health and well being. Planning your meals will give you a chance to learn the nutritional values of food. It will help you develop healthy food habits and you can learn mindful eating. Taking these principles into consideration, you can overcome binge eating disorder.
- Prior Meal Planning can save you from eating the wrong and unhealthy foods. You can reduce the intake of extra unnecessary calories that are not required by your body.
- Make a nutrition plan and if you can`t do it yourself, better hire a certified nutritionist.
- When your nutrition plan gets ready, make the list of all the ingredients you need for your meals. Go out and buy groceries required for a complete week.
- Make a rule of not skipping breakfast and keep two different options for your breakfast always.
- Try to eat small meals in your day preferably five to six meals which are evenly spaced. A two to three hour gap between meals is advisable.
- Plan your snacks wisely.
- Dine out occasionally and if you do, choose from healthy options of food.
A right nutritional strategy can help you manage your food cravings in stressful situations. Also, if you are losing weight, you can do so in a right way. You need not to do any kind of dieting and starve yourself if you have a right strategy.
Binge Eating Disorder Medication
There are several medications available that can help you with your binge eating episodes. Taking these medications can help you deal with binge eating disorder. They can put some help but these aren`t as effective as behavioural therapies, we have listed above.
The binge eating disorder medication comes in form of anti depressants, anticonvulsants and drugs used to treat hyperactivity disorder. There are also some off label selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs available to reduce the symptoms.
- Vyvnase (Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate): It is a drug used to treat hyper activity disorders due to attention deficit. Taking this drug has benefits in reducing moderate to severe binge eating disorder symptoms.
- Topamax (Topiramate): It is an anticonvulsant drug generally used to control epileptic seizures. However, it is also shown effective in treating binge eating disorder associated with obesity.
- Prozac (Fluoxetine): It is an off label selective serotonin uptake inhibitor drug which is used to treat major depressive disorders. Taking fluoxetine has a modest efficacy in treating binge eating disorder.
Medications can improve binge eating disorder in short run but can have various side effects. You should not administer the binge eating disorder medication without the guidance of a doctor.
The Bottom Line
Binge Eating Disorder can seriously affect your health. It is a less recognized eating disorder that can cause you your body health, mental health and social health. Luckily there are therapies and medications available to treat binge eating disorder symptoms. With proper diagnosis, care, support and treatment, you can overcome this condition.
- “Binge eating disorder,” Wikipedia,
- “GI Symptoms in Eating Disorders,”
- “More Information about Eating Disorders,”
- H. L. M. T. A. F. V. H. S. E. T. P. L. N. L. P. D. W. O. C. M. B. Christine M. Peat, “Binge Eating, Body Mass Index, and Gastrointestinal Symptoms,”
- “Health Consequences,” National Eating Disorder Organization,”
- Morrisey, “Heart Problems and Eating Disorders,”
- “Cardiovascular Complications of Eating Disorders,”
- “Binge eating associated with endocrine, circulatory systems’ illnesses,” Hindustan Times
- “How eating disorders affect the neurobiology of the brain,”
- Gunnars, “How Food Addiction Works,”
- S. Goldberg, “BU Researchers Find Gene Associated with Binge Eating in Mice,”
- P. Z. T. T. E. V. A. F. A. Degortes D, “Stressful life events and binge eating disorder,”
- I. H. J. E. M. Susan L. McElroy, “Efficacy and Safety of Lisdexamfetamine for Treatment of Adults With Moderate to Severe Binge-Eating Disorder,”
- M. A. N. A. S. P. E. K. J. N. R. R. M. R. K. M. K. I. H. Susan L. McElroy, “Topiramate in the Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder,”.
- I. G. N. M. a. A. M. O. Susan L McElroy, “Pharmacological management of binge eating disorder: current and emerging treatment options,”
It’s interesting to know that binge eating disorder can stem from depression and anxiety as a form of compulsive stress relief. A friend of mine is starting to be concerned about her own appetite because she seems to feel like snacking on something every two hours or so. Perhaps I should help her look for a therapist to see if this tendency is rooted in a mental health problem.