Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Binge Eating Disorder

For many people a binge is something perfectly innocuous – a dietary slip or lapse, a simple overindulgence.

For others, though, it signifies a loss of control over eating, and it is a major problem for a large number of people.

Unlike bulimia, a person with BED usually doesn’t purge, fast, abuse diuretics or laxatives, or over-exercise.

The essential feature of binge eating disorder is episodes of overeating. The compulsion to overeat is often associated with the taste and quality of food whereas in bulimia nervosa binges are more likely to be ritualistic and to include food that is easy to vomit afterwards.

Estimates suggest that 2 percent of Americans (as many as 4 million) have this disorder – many are obese or overweight.

Binge eating disorder is reported to occur in 2-3% of women in the US and Western Europe; its prevalence correlates with the prevalence of dieting in the community.

The concerns are physical, psychological and social.

The binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
*Eating much more rapidly than normal
*Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
*Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
*Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
*Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty after overeating
*Weight fluctuations
*Depressed mood
*Attribution of social and professional successes and failures to weight

Large amount of food eaten by binge eaters are typically high in fats and added sugars, and may lack sufficient vitamins and minerals.

With the likelihood of overweight and obesity comes an increased risk for serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, and some cancers.

Many binge eaters begin dieting in grade school and start bingeing during adolescence or in their early twenties.

Binge eating often results in depression, embarrassment and social isolation; those with the disorder are often upset by both the problem and their inability to control their eating.

More than 50 percent have clinical depression. Feelings of depression, loneliness, anxiety or stress can precipitate a binge.

Binging is a psychologically rather than physiologically determined behaviors: patients frequently binge when they are not hungry and continue even after they are uncomfortably full.

If the person binge twice a week or more for at least a six month period, they may have binge eating disorder which can require professional help. Treatment usually consists of cognitive behavioral therapy, either individually or in a group setting.
Binge Eating Disorder

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