Binge Eating Disorders and You

Binge eating disorder — what is it, and why is it on the increase.  Will you get it, and what should you do if you have it?

First, let’s define binge eating.  Then you’ll understand why it’s on the rise in today’s culture.

What is a Binge Eating?

This is where you eat far more than normal at a sitting, often until it’s physically uncomfortable or even is painful.  One common example that probably most of us have indulged in is the infamous Thanksgiving dinner, where we eat too much of everything.  Afterwards, we loosen our belts, unhook the waistbands and sack out on the sofa.

This form of binging is most likely a controlled binge.  In other words, you could stop yourself at any point.  You might not want to, but you could.

In a true binge, the person bingeing is uncontrolled; in other words, they couldn’t stop if they wanted to.

When Does it Become a Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating becomes a problem when it becomes a regular occurrence.  That isn’t to say it has to be every day or even every week.  But when it arrives, it is uncontrolled, and uncontrollable.

Aside from consuming a large amount of food at one time, a binge eating disorder is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Eats much faster while bingeing than during normal eating episodes
  • Eats large amounts of food even when not really hungry
  • Eating until physically uncomfortable, even painful
  • Tends to eat alone even during periods of normal eating, because they are embarrassed about food and their bingeing
  • Feels guilty, disgusted, and/or depressed after a binge

Now a lot of people think that bingers are always overweight.  While this often the case, this isn’t always true.  A binge eating disorder can be coupled with purging (either vomiting or excessive use of laxatives) to rid the body of calories.

Who is at Risk?

Well, just about anyone, really.  It crosses racial lines and income levels.  It is a little more common in women than men, though.  Another potential risk factor is if you became overweight at an early age and have repeatedly lost and re-gained weight.

Health Hazards of a Binge Eating Disorder

There are definitely health issues associated with this problem.  And it’s on the increase.  Today’s culture has us eating more than ever, but we’re villified if we’re overweight – we’re told that we should be thin.  A contradiction, for sure.

The most common is weight gain, and all the problems that brings.  Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and the like are more prevalent the more overweight you become.

There are mental health issues involved as well.  Self-esteem is usually very low, and depression is common.

As with all disorders, the first step in resolving it is admitting that you have a problem.  The next is seeking help; this could be getting it from a medical professional, a group setting, or confiding in a trusted friend/relative/spouse who supports your efforts to control the binging.

You aren’t alone with your binge eating disorder, and you can be cured.  You just have to want to take that first step, which leads to the second.  You can do it.

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