We’ve all had those days where we just can’t stop ourselves from reaching for yet another biscuit while we watch our favorite Netflix show. Or those days where you are exhausted, and you decide to have a ‘binge’ on ice cream and pizza to make yourself feel better.
For people with binge eating disorder, binging is a much more frequent occurrence. Binging is a way to block unwanted emotions, and in many cases, the food isn’t even enjoyable. Not only this, but it happens so frequently that you begin to gain weight and notice digestive symptoms such as stomach cramps and pain.
Symptoms of binge eating disorder
Binge eating disorder isn’t just eating; it’s an addictive compulsion, just like someone who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. A lot of people who have binge eating disorder are overweight or obese, but not everyone. Some of the signs of binge eating disorder include:
- Eating abnormally large quantities of food in a short period of time
- Feeling as though you can’t control your eating
- Eating even when you don’t feel hungry, or when you feel that you are already full
- Being secretive about your eating and hiding it from others
- Feeling disgusted with yourself about your eating and feeling depressed because of it
- Frequently deciding to go on a diet to lose the weight you have gained, often without success
How do you treat binge eating disorder?
The treatment for binge eating disorder will vary depending on the individual. Binge eating disorder is often caused when a deep-rooted issue presents itself, and so, therefore, resolving that issue is a key part of recovery.
Some of the issues that can cause binge eating disorder are sexual abuse, social pressure to be slim, criticism about your weight or body shape, addiction.
Beginning focused binge eating therapy is an effective way to address the root causes of binge eating and plan how to manage the compulsion to binge eat going forwards.
You might do work around creating healthy meal plans for you to stick to and around identifying triggers so that you can work to manage your response to them and find alternative coping methods.
Treatment will also involve some psychological work to help you to create a more positive relationship with food and your body. This might involve psychological therapy such as counseling or CBT, or you may find that medication to help stabilize your mood is helpful.
Health impacts of binge eating disorder
People with binge eating disorder are likely to become obese and have a heightened risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Some studies have shown that this risk is even higher for obese people with BED than those who do not have the disorder.
BED can also cause sleep problems, chronic pain conditions, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome.