Binge Eating Disorders

Binge Eating Disorder

When people think about eating disorders, two of the more “famous” conditions usually come to mind: anorexia and bulimia.   Binge eating, however, is another common behavior problems that is caused by emotional issues and can lead to a number of serious physical and mental health concerns.  The following is a brief overview of what you should know about binge eating disorders.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

A binge eating disorder is a condition that involves eating large quantities of food, without the purging behavior associated with bulimia nervosa and other related conditions.

How Common Is It?

According to several surveys and studies by the American Medical Association (AMA), binge eating is currently the most common eating disorder in the United States as 3.5 percent of all American women and 2.5 percent of all men suffer from it.   In addition, 30 percent of all those individuals who seek weight loss treatment help also classify as having the disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

An individual may be suffering from a binge eating disorder and not even realize the depth of their problem.   The following are the most common signs and symptoms of binge eating as a behavioral problem:

  • Lack of control over the consumption of food
  • Eating large amounts of food at a single sitting
  • Eating more food during binge eating periods than normal eating periods
  • Eating until nauseous or in physical discomfort
  • Eating when not even hungry
  • Eating as a means of coping with depression or anxiety
  • Often eating alone
  • Secretive behavior concerning food
  • Feeling shame or guilt after a binge eating episode
  • Rapid weight gain or obesity

Why Do People Do it?

There are several root causes behind binge eating.  These, of course, differ from individual to individual, but taken together they make up the lion’s share of binge eating cases.   While experts are unsure about the cause and effect between the two, there seems to be a strong relationship between depression and binge eating.   Over 50 percent of those men and women with a binge eating disorder report a history of depression to some degree.

Other suspected causes of binge eating disorder include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Self-image issues

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also produced reports that indicate those who suffer from a binge-eating disorder have impulse control issues or difficulty expressing their feelings.

Health Risks

Binge eating disorder is far from a harmless condition.   There are a number of serious health risks associated with this behavior that can have long-lasting impact on the individual, including:

Also, those suffering from a binge eating disorder may find it hard to maintain relationships because of their self-image or weight gain.   They may miss school or work so they can eat in secret.

Weight Gain

Obviously, the most serious health problem associated with binge eating disorder is obesity.  Sudden, sustained weight gain can bring about numerous health problems that are associated with obesity, including:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain forms of cancer

If you are suffering from a binge eating disorder, there is help available.  Contact a treatment professional today and get the counseling and support you need to overcome binge eating once and for all.