What you need to know about the Binge Eating Disorder
Since a couple of years back, medical advisors stressed the need for seeking medical help in case of an eating disorder. And recent studies show that more than 2% of people worldwide suffer from the so-called Binge Eating Disorder. BED represents a type of eating disorder closely linked to the emotional state of an individual. Individuals experience BED when they use food to overcome problems or other psychological issues, like anxiety or depression.
Still, the truth is that not many seek medical advice in such a situation. And many BED patients go for years without being diagnosed. Hence, if you are interested in Binge Eating Disorder, read on to find out all you need to know about this condition. Up next, we’ve shared ley insights about symptoms, causes, and potential health risks.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder or BED is characterized by compulsive overeating or simply ingesting abnormal quantities of food since you are unable to stop. Also, BED can be classified based on its frequency, most of the eating episodes occurring at least twice a week for up to six months.
Back in 1959, Albert Stunkard was the first one to explain this type of disorder. He was a well-established psychiatrist and researcher for the Night Eating Syndrome. And he concluded that Binge Eating Disorder is similar to this syndrome. He determined that BED can happen to anyone, no matter their sex, and it is quite frequent amongst normal-weight individuals. Stunkard suggested that most of those patients with BED experience a lot of emotional struggle and guilt linked with either depression or anxiety.
What are the leading causes of Binge Eating Disorder?
Several causes can make one predisposed to developing the Binge Eating Disorder. Some of those include:
- Genetics play a significant role in this condition, and many patients with BED experience an increase in dopamine sensitivity. This can cause an uncontrollable desire for rewards, which might end up being transposed into eating uncontrollably. Also, recent research suggests that BED can be inherited and can represent a genetic predisposition.
- Some researchers believe that BED might be a direct result of structural changes in the brain’s chemistry. These can lead to a heightened response to food and less self-control.
- Emotional trauma is viewed as the primary trigger in patients with Binge Eating Disorder. Abuse, death, or separation are all contributing factors to this disorder. Also, psychiatrists believe that childhood bullying might play a significant role in how an adult perceives food.
- Obesity is another cause for BED, as many overweight people have low-self-esteem and find reassurance in food.
- Various psychological issues might contribute to the development of BED, including post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or phobias.
Common symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
There are numerous indicators that a person suffers from Binge Eating Disorder. Still, you should know that those symptoms might differ from one person to another. The most frequent symptoms observed in patients with BED are:
- Inability to stop eating even when you feel full
- Inability to control the portion of your meals and what foods you eat
- Hiding food to have something to eat at a later time
- Eating normally when surrounded by people, but resuming to the same compulsive behavior when alone
- Going through feelings of stress and anxiety that can only be diminished by eating
- Feeling numb or not feeling anything when binge eating.
- Inability to feel satisfied no matter how much food you consume.
Common health risks associated with the Binge Eating Disorder
Even though this disorder might not seem so serious, besides gaining weight, binge eating can lead to serious health problems. Most of the patients diagnosed with BED have several physical, emotional, and social health risks. Some studies show that the main consequences of binge eating include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Insomnia or sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Gastrointestinal difficulties
- Depression and/or anxiety
Treatment approaches for managing BED
The first thing you need to know is that this eating disorder differs from one individual to another. As such, the treatment plan for this is established based on the severity of BED and the individual goals. This means that some patients might need help dealing with excess weight, while others might need help with their mental wellbeing. Still, no matter what the approach is, it is highly recommended to diagnose BED as soon as possible.
The most important approach for managing BED is cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT represents a method of analyzing and identifying the causes of negative thoughts, feelings, and any behavior connecting to eating in excess, body shape, and weight. When the cause is detected, the therapist will create a strategy for managing BED. This might refer to creating daily goals, self-monitoring, striving to implement regular meal patterns, or encouraging healthy habits.