Binge Eating Disorder is also commonly known as compulsive overeating. It refers to the consumption of abnormal amounts of food in a short period of time with the person experiencing this being unable to stop and feeling at loss of control.
Unlike with other eating disorders, after a binge eating episode one does not take drastic compensatory measures such as throwing up, using laxatives or working out excessively in order to counter such episode.
Binge eating episodes are typically classified as occurring on average a minimum of twice a week for a duration of six months. These episodes are classified as such if they satisfy 3 or more of the following criteria:
– Eating much more rapidly than how one would normally eat.
– Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
– Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
– Eating alone due to feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
– Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty following such episodes.
Possible causes triggering binge eating disorders could potentially be:
– Any new practice with food or fad diets, including cutting out entire food groups e.g. zero carbs.
– Taking on frequent so-called “diets”; pressure to diet and maintain specific caloric intake can produce overwhelming feelings of stress.
– Individuals who are the subject of frequent negative comments, bullying or body shaming, as well as body image concerns or low self-confidence largely driven by images on television or social media.
– Genetics and/or family history; a number of studies show that family members of obese individuals with binge eating disorders were twice as likely to suffer from the condition than family members of obese individuals who did not have a history of binge eating.
– Traumatic events, death, separation, physical illness, tragedy, sexual and/or physical abuse and bullying can often lead to the onset of binge eating disorders.
Treatment for binge eating disorders can typically take one of the following two approaches:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – helps individuals identify, interrupt and replace distorted thinking.
2. Interpersonal Psychotherapy – views binge eating as a coping mechanism for underlying personal problems. It addresses binge eating behaviors by acknowledging and treating those underlying problems.
Having briefly unwrapped the above points it is important to address the question as to how one can stop such episodes from recurring.
The first step in stopping binge eating is to speak to a medical professional. This person can help diagnose the condition properly, determine the severity of such condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment going forward. One should not be afraid of talking about this. Sometimes, the mere fact of speaking out loud can help release associated bad feelings. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that a psychological condition is none different than a physical one.
If not treated properly and in a timely fashion, binge eating can lead to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, depression or other mental related issues.
When in doubt, speak out!
To fitness with love,
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