You often hear it….
…oh I was so bad this weekend, I binge ate, I’m so bad.
But the reality of binge eating disorder is very different than having that extra scoop of ice cream or a few more pieces of pizza.
Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by binge eating without the compensatory behaviors characteristic of Bulimia, such as vomiting after meals. Often dismissed as emotional eating or compulsive eating, only recently has the medical community recognized binge eating as a disorder.
A binge-eating episode may be accompanied by eating more than normal, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food independent of physical hunger, eating alone because of the embarrassment about the large quantities consumed, and feeling guilty after consuming large amounts of food.
Research suggests that Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder.
Most people with Binge Eating Disorder are more than 20 percent above a healthy body weight, but normal weight people also can be affected.
The typical age of onset for Binge Eating Disorder is during adolescence or young adulthood, but most individuals will only seek treatment in middle adulthood when they are experiencing physical symptoms related to being overweight, such as Type II diabetes, hypertension, and gastric problems.
Warning signs of Binge Eating Disorder include sudden weight gain and the disappearance of large amounts of food.
Binges generally occur at least once a week.
However, just because one enjoys a buffet with family and friends does not an eating disorder make.
Excessive eating must also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as what is discussed below.
Emotional and Behavioral Signs of Binge Eating Disorder
- Lack of Control over ability to stop eating
- Recurring episodes of binge eating (eating in a discrete period an amount of food that is much larger than most individuals would eat under similar circumstances).
- Disruption in normal eating behaviors, including eating throughout the day with no planned mealtimes; skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals; engaging in sporadic fasting or repetitive dieting.
- Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating: first moments of a binge can be pleasurable, but soon these feel good moments are gone and replaced by disgust and feeling revolted by what they are doing…. But feeling unable to stop.
- Speed of Eating: Typically people eat rapidly during a binge. Often it becomes almost mechanical with individuals stuffing food into their mouth, barely chewing it.
- Agitation: Some people pace or wander around during binges. Almost a feeling of desperation. The craving for food becomes a powerful force driving the person to eat.
Binge Eaters Often:
- Eat when not hungry
- Eat alone and appears uncomfortable eating around others
- Have a fear of eating in public
- Display Secretive Behaviors surrounding food. Steals or hoards food in strange places
- Spend large amounts of money on frequent binges
- Create lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge sessions.
- Withdraw from usual friends and activities.
- Frequently diets
- Show extreme concern with body weight and shape
- Have feelings of low self esteem. Often feels disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
- See fluctuations in weight
- Frequently check in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
- May exhibit extreme mood swings
- Have difficulty concentrating
Physical signs of binge eating disorder include
- Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down
- Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
If you experience episodes of emotional eating or compulsive eating, you may need treatment for Binge Eating Disorder.
For long-term success, treatment must address underlying issues such as anxiety, depression, and lack of impulse control.
If you found yourself nodding your head to many of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to Carol Williams, Northeast Arkansas’s only eating disorder specialist.
To set up an appointment, simply call her at 870-219-7650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org