There may be occasions in our life when we feel like we have overeaten or consumed food more than we do during normal times. It is especially during parties and special events that we tend to eat more than usual and we may be thinking if that is not normal. As a matter of fact, Binge eating disorder is totally different than overeating in these types of situations. Binge eating disorder is actually such a condition in which a person may feel like they can’t stop eating even if they are totally full. They may feel that they want to eat a lot quicker even when they are not feeling hungry at all. In this situation, the person may feel guilty or ashamed about the situation after the eating episode but the person will not try to exercise a lot or throw up like in cases of bulimia. Most of the times, people with Binge eating disorder try to hide their disorderly behaviour from other people.
This type of uncontrollable feelings related to eating is very common in cases of Binge eating disorder but that sort of feelings can be treated with proper treatment. You may need to counsel and consult with a Psychiatrist to get out of that situation. A psychiatrist or a psychologist can provide counselling to treat such people with eating disorder. In some cases, special medicines can be prescribed to help deal with this disorder. In case of Binge eating disorder, it is also important to have continued support and love from family members and friends. If there are love and support from the family and friends then it will be quite easier for the person to deal with this disorder.
Causes of Binge eating disorder
Various research and studies have been conducted on Binge eating disorder but it has not yet been found why some people develop this type of disorder. Gender wise, the occurrence of Binge eating disorder has been noticed more in women compared to men. According to statistics, 3.5 % of women and 2% of men in the United States are suffering from Binge eating disorder. There is a higher risk of having binge eating disorder if a person is obese but normal people without any form of obesity may also have this disorder. The facts and figures show that almost two out of three people in the United States who have Binge eating disorder are also suffering from Obesity-related problems.
Binge eating disorder has also been commonly associated with emotional distress and depression. The person who is suffering from Binge eating disorder may find it quite difficult to handle their emotions. In such situations, the person will use food as a medium to comfort or provide a reward to oneself. In conditions of Binge eating disorder, if a person tries to escape a meal or compensate by a severe type of dieting then it can result in more binge eating. As binge eating has been associated with depression and emotional distress, the scientists are conducting researches to find out if chemicals or body metabolism has any role in binge eating disorder. This disorder can also run in families from one generation to another generation and women are more likely to have this type of disorder.
It has also been discovered that some people who have binge eating disorder have faced different problems like alcoholism, emotional and physical abuse or they also could have been going through problems related to addictions. If the person has any of these problems then it is necessary to deal with these problems because they may also be trigger factor behind the binge eating disorder.
Symptoms of Binge eating disorder
There are various signs and symptoms related to Binge eating disorder. If you have any of the below-mentioned signs then you may be suffering from Binge eating disorder.
- Having the uncontrollable feeling about how much you can eat.
- Usually eating more food than other people in the same situation.
- Having feelings of guilt and disappointment after binge eating.
- Getting feelings for binge eating at least one time in a week regularly for three months.
In case of Binge eating disorder, the person also may have three or more than three of the below-mentioned symptoms.
- Eating very fast compared to normal situations.
- Eating to such an extent that you feel full uncomfortably.
- You eat a lot even when you are not hungry.
- Have a habit of eating alone so that no one will know how much you eat.
- Having feelings of guilt, disgust and depression after eating.
People who have binge eating disorder will not try to throw up or use unnatural measures to compensate with the uncomfortable situation despite feeling bad about the overeating episode. There may be various other problems which rise along with Binge eating disorder and those problems are also linked to obesity and unhealthy eating, for example, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. The person may also find it difficult to sleep properly and face other problems related to joint pain, muscle pain and digestive problems. In case of women, there may be irregular phases of menstruation.
Diagnosis of Binge eating disorder
If there are any symptoms related to binge eating disorder then it is advised to consult a doctor as soon as possible so that a proper diagnosis by a medical professional can be made for further treatment. The doctor may ask a few questions to find out the symptoms and know about the medical history. The doctor may ask the following questions.
- Can you stop eating once you begin to eat?
- What do you feel about the quantity of food that you eat?
- Do you eat very fast?
- Do you have the urge for eating even when you are full at an uncomfortable level?
- Do you lie or hide to people about how much you eat?
- Do you have a tendency of eating alone? Why?
As mentioned earlier, people who have binge eating disorder don’t want to disclose about their eating habits with anyone. They have a feeling of guilt related to their eating disorder. But it would be difficult to diagnose the problem if the patient will not open up with the doctor. So, it is necessary to share openly with the doctor about the problem.
The disorder can be ranked into different levels according to the occurrence of eating habit. The doctor can tell exactly what level of binge disorder the person has. However, if the binge eating occurs 1-3 times a week then it is considered to be a mild form of binge disorder similarly if it happens between 4-7 times a week, then it is a moderate form of disorder and if the binge eating occurs 8-13 times weekly then it is severe form. If it happens more than 14 times or more than it is an extreme form of binge disorder.
Treatment of Binge eating disorder
Binge eating disorder is a condition in which willpower may not be the only solution. The doctor may prescribe medication like lisdexamfetamine or Vyvanse which can be helpful to suppress the desire to eat obsessively. It is the first type of drug which has been FDA-approved for treatment of Binge eating disorder ranging from moderate to severe levels. This drug stops the uncontrolled episodes of binge eating. The patient may be further referred to a psychiatrist or a psychologist for further treatment which is more helpful. The psychiatrist may apply a method which is known as cognitive therapy and this therapy has a special focus on what you do and your feelings. This sort of therapy can be very helpful to change your thinking towards your eating habits and have a better understanding of binge eating.
There may also be a necessity to include the family members in the counselling sessions so that they also understand the problem related to binge eating disorder. The role of the family members and friends is very crucial to fighting against problem-related to binge eating. They need to be supportive at home and workplace for the patient to be able to deal with the disorder. Joining a support group with similar problems can be beneficial in sharing the problems and experiences to further find common solutions to them. There may also be a necessity to seek treatment for other problems such as depression and anxiety which come along with binge eating disorder so it is necessary to treat those conditions as well. The doctor may prescribe antidepressant medicines which can be helpful to suppress the binge eating. A drug called Topiramate which is an anti-seizure drug or other medications may be used to manage the binge.
Take good care of yourself
Binge eating disorder is widely associated with stress and depression so there is a need for seeking positive methods to manage the disorder. There are ways to Yoga, exercise, medication or massage therapy which helps the person to relax and feel calm. It may also be helpful to seek consultation with a nutrition counsellor who can provide guidance related to healthy eating habit. The condition may be quite serious if the person has problems with diabetes and high cholesterol levels. So it is necessary to lose weight and seek management for binge eating disorder to prevent bigger problems. The ultimate goal should be to stay healthy rather than how much you weigh. If you have problems related to binge eating disorder then worrying is the last thing you can do. You shouldn’t lose heart because there are many people who have faced this problem. It was possible for them to get over this problem with proper treatment and counselling so you can do it too. There is no necessity to blame yourself for the condition because it is none of your faults. You have to be positive about the setback which you may need to face while trying to overcome this condition. There are many other support groups and organizations from where you can get help like the National Eating Disorders Association, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders or the Binge Eating Disorder Association.