Binge Eating

Binge eatingBinge eating disorder occurs when a person eats large quantities of food in one sitting despite feeling uncomfortable physical reactions and emotional distress. Although it has only recently been recognized as a disorder, binge eating is prevalent in the U.S. and Canada.

While most of us overeat from time to time, chronic binge eating is a more serious problem. Also known as compulsive overeating, binge eating usually happens in response to stress and is usually made worse the more often it happens – it becomes a spiral of overeating, feeling guilty and anxious, and overeating again.

Binge eating disorder has been proposed to be added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V). This is big news for those affected by binge eating disorder and means that binge eating will officially be recognized and treated under most health insurance providers.

Right now, binge eating disorder is considered part of the “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” group in the DSM-IV. While more study on binge eating is underway, doctors do agree that binge eating meets the following criteria:

  • The binge eating occurs more than once, often in a cycle that starts out slowly and increases over time.
  • The individual feels a lack of control over the binge eating, sometimes feeling like he or she is having an “out of body experience.”
  • The individual feels very distressed about the binge cycle and often feels guilty or upset over the binge eating.
  • There are no compensatory behaviors such as purging or starving oneself after binging.
  • The individual may hide or hoard food and may eat in secret.
  • The individual usually eats more rapidly than usual or will eat until uncomfortably full.

The binge eater usually has a lot of difficult feelings including:

  • Extreme anxiety – the binge eating is usually a way to feel something other than terrible anxiety
  • Guilt or disgust for one’s actions, which is usually felt after a binge
  • Depression associated with weight gain and blood sugar fluctuations
  • Embarrassment for the condition, which often causes the person to avoid treatment

Binge Eating Complications

Binge eating is very hard on the body and many of the complications from binge eating can be deadly. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are all associated with binge eating disorder. In some cases, certain types of cancer are associated with binge eating disorder.

Binge eating can cause rapid weight gain, swelling and discomfort. This weight gain causes many binge eaters considerable distress, which can lead to more binge eating. Many people who suffer from binge eating may try fad diets or highly restrictive diets only to return to binge eating shortly after the diet began.

In fact, it is very difficult for binge eaters to adhere to a diet plan. They are more likely than other groups of people to stray from the diet plan and in turn begin the binge cycle anew.

Binge Eating Help

All of this being said, there is hope out there. The best way to overcome binge eating disorder is with the help of trained counselors and medical professionals. We offer a free 24-hour helpline to guide you through binge eating treatment options. You don’t have to face this alone – call our toll free number today.

(866) 612-7509