What is Binge Eating? 5 Things You Need To Know

Binge eating disorder

Though recovery is often associated with drugs and alcohol, there are other disorders that require treatment as well. One such disorder is binge eating disorder (BED), which involves lacking control and over-indulging in food. Though it sounds simple, there are numerous things you should know if you or a loved one are battling binge eating. 

1.  What exactly is binge eating disorder? BED is a type of eating disorder and is identified by eating large amounts of food, often quickly, and resulting in a feeling of discomfort. Those who suffer from BED feel as if they have no control over their actions, and afterward they feel a deep sense of shame and guilt. Sometimes, but not always, binge eaters then purge to alleviate that shame and guilt. While BED can lead to obesity, not all those who suffer are overweight. 

2. The cause of binge eating disorder is somewhat unknown, but researchers think depression, dieting, coping skills and biology could all play a role. Womenshealth.gov claims that as many as half of people diagnosed with binge eating disorder suffer from depression. Binging may also be a result of attempting to diet, if the person has not eaten enough or has skipped meals. Those who suffer from binge eating disorder may have trouble coping with emotions such as anger, sadness and boredom. And finally, scientists believe brain chemicals, metabolism and genes could play a role in binge eating, as multiple family members tend to struggle with it. 

3. Binge eating has certain warning signs. Some warning signs include the disappearance of large amounts of food, secretly eating and hiding the evidence, abnormal eating patterns throughout the day, and planning in order to make time for binging. Additionally, those suffering from BED may withdrawal and appear moody. They also may have perfectionist tenancies and have trouble expressing themselves. 

4. Binge eating has more consequences than just obesity. Since eating in excess can easily lead to obesity, that is the most commonly associated consequence. However, obesity brings complications of its own, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, high cholesterol, heart disease and even cancer. Additionally, many binge eaters also differ from mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. This could be a result of their eating habits, or could be what fuels those habits. 

5. There are treatment options for binge eaters. Those with BED can seek help through health care professionals, often psychologists or psychiatrists. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another option. CBT works to combat negative patterns of thought about oneself. Those thoughts are challenged to alter behavior. Another option is drug therapy, meaning treating the underlying issues with antidepressants or appetite suppressors. However, drug therapy alone will usually not be effective since many sufferers of BED struggle with underlying mental disorders that need to be confronted. 

Treatment is available and Orlando Recovery can help. Contact us today 407.680.1226.

Written by: Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a newspaper reporter and graphic designer from Minnesota who writes about the realities of getting sober young. Follow her on Twitter.