“Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, not lifestyle choices.”
Binge eating disorder is a kind of eating disorder linked to several psychiatric and non-psychological issues and some severe functional impairments in everyday life. Binge eating disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), is defined as
(1) Eating more food than other people would eat under similar conditions and over an equal time (usually within two hours).
(2) Feeling guilty after eating due to a lack of control over one’s eating.
It affects around 2% of the world’s population and can lead to other dietary-related health problems like high cholesterol and diabetes. BED is a serious, life-threatening, and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food; a sense of loss of control during the binge; feelings of shame, distress, or guilt afterward; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the bingeing. In the United States, it is the most frequent eating disorder.
For a health care practitioner to diagnose Binge Eating Disorder, three or more of the following symptoms must be present:
- Eating significantly faster than usual.
- Consuming enormous amounts of food without becoming hungry.
- Feelings of humiliation and shame prevent you from eating with others.
- Sentiments of self-loathing or hatred.
- There is a lot of anxiety about binge eating.
The Binge Eating Disorder is thought to be caused by several risk factors, including:
- Genetics– BED patients may have heightened sensitivity to dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter that causes emotions of reward and pleasure. There is also substantial evidence that the condition is passed down through the generations.
- Gender-Women are more likely than males to have Binge-Eating disorder. In the United States, 3.6 percent of women and 2.0 percent of men develop BED.
- Changes in the brain’s structure– There are signs that persons with BED may have structural alterations in their brains that cause them to have a hypersensitive response to eating.
- Body weight- Obesity affects over half of those with BED, and 25–50 percent of patients seeking weight loss surgery match the BED criteria. Weight issues can be a cause as well as a symptom of the condition.
- Body image– People with BED usually have a poor self-perception of themselves. Body dissatisfaction, dieting, and overeating all play a role in the disorder’s progression.
- Emotional adversity- Abuse, mortality, separation from a family member, or being in a car accident are all risk factors.
- Other psychological problems– Almost 80% of persons with BED also have other mental illnesses, such as phobias, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or substance misuse. Boredom can all cause an episode of binge eating.
Binge Eating vs. Overeating:
Both may entail irrational behavior. You consume excessively without giving it any thought. However, there are significant distinctions.
Over-eating can occur in several ways, including:
- Having several desserts after supper.
- Watching a movie while eating an entire bag of popcorn.
The following are some examples of BED:
- Bringing a large bag of chocolates into your room and eating it all by yourself.
- Eating the entire cake in one sitting and then getting upset about it.
- Even though you’re already full, you finish three burgers.
Binge Eating Disorder can lead to a variety of complications, including:
- Decreased quality of life
- Social exclusion
- Medical ailments, such as joint pain, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and sleep-related breathing disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Substance abuse problems
What are the treatment options?
The reasons and severity of the eating disorder and the patient’s objectives influence the path of therapy for Binge Eating Disorder. The following are some of the treatment options:
(1) Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – focuses on understanding the negative feelings and behaviors that lead to binge eating and helping people develop skills to overcome them. It’s the most successful BED treatment, and you may do it with or without a therapist.
(2) In interpersonal psychotherapy- binge eating is a coping technique for underlying personal problems. It targets binge eating by recognizing and treating the problem. It is a successful treatment, especially in difficult situations.
(3) In dialectical behavior therapy, Binge Eating Disorder is a reaction to bad experiences in everyday life. To help people cope better and quit bingeing, it employs strategies such as mindfulness and emotion regulation. It’s unknown whether it’ll work in the long run.
(4) Weight loss therapy tries to reduce weight to improve body image and thereby minimize binge eating symptoms.
(5) Medications –In the near term, medications may help with binge eating. Long-term research, on the other hand, is required.
Binge Eating -Resistant Strategies:
- Keep a record of what you eat and how you feel- Learning how to control bingeing impulses begins with identifying personal triggers.
- Make an effort to be mindful- This can help you become more aware of your binge-triggers.
- Find someone with whom you can converse- Support is essential.
- Select nutritious foods – A diet rich in protein and healthy fats and regular meals and whole foods will assist in satisfying hunger.
- Start working out – It can help you lose weight, feel better about yourself, lessen anxiety symptoms, and improve your mood.
- Get enough sleep- Sleep deprivation has been related to higher calorie consumption and erratic eating behaviors.
Take comfort if you’re caught in a binge eating cycle: with treatment, the majority of people can break free. The Binge Eating Disorder Association, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) can provide you with support groups, doctor referrals, and other resources. When you’re anxious, it’s more likely that you’ll binge eat, so you’ll need to find healthy ways to cope. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and massage therapy can all aid in the relaxation process.
Click here to read about Borderline personality disorder.