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What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a mental health condition in which one has recurrent episodes of binge eating without any efforts to refrain. Mental health professionals have classified it as an eating disorder. However, they have included it in the diagnostic manual as needing a separate diagnosis.

Binge eating disorder is the most common of all eating disorders. It affects about 3.5% women and 2% of men over their lifetimes. There seems to be no difference in the ages of men and women who are developing binge eating disorder.

Men who have this condition are liked to have a higher BMI and are also susceptible to suffering from ADHD compared to men of a similar age without the disorder. Women who have binge eating disorder are at an increased risk of suffering from celiac disease and diabetes.

Binge eating disorder can significantly impact the health of the victim because most of the victims are obese. They are also likely to suffer from other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. In most cases, women have a negative body image of themselves while men display a tendency also to develop a substance abuse disorder. Binge eating disorder tends to last for about 14 years with just 7% of the people affected managing to resolve the problem during the first year. Therefore, it can be confirmed that binge eating disorder is chronic as compared to bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.

 The Causes Of And Risk Factors For Binge Eating Disorder

Mental disorders of any kind do not have a specific cause. The same applies for binge eating disorder. It is a result of a group of genetic, psychological and environmental factors.  There is also a risk of social factors for binge eating and could include a history of being physically or sexually abused. Discrimination is also a risk factor for this disorder among African-American women. Comments about shape, weight, and eating is another factor that must also be taken into account.

Psychologically, many professionals consider this disorder as a food addiction characterized by compulsive overeating. Phobias and panic disorders are the most common anxiety problems that are experienced by people who are suffering from this condition. Eating binges could be triggered by restrictions on their diet, hunger, and negative moods.

 The Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

The symptoms and signs of binge eating disorder include recurrent episodes of eating without the need to purge, inappropriate use of medications, exercising excessively, and any unhealthy behaviors exhibited by people who suffer from other conditions of bulimia. People who have this disorder also engage in stress and emotional eating. In most cases, they are likely to feel hungry when they are not. Binge eating disorders are associated with any of the three following symptoms.

  • Eating faster than normal.
  • Consuming huge quantities of food despite not being hungry.
  • Eating until absolutely full and uncomfortable.
  • Having food in isolation because of embarrassment about their eating behaviors.
  • Feeling disgusted with themselves and guilty after overeating.

People with this condition can also experience distress regarding their binge eating.

 The Diagnosis For Binge Eating Disorder

Just as it is with other mental health conditions, no single test can indicate that someone is suffering from a binge eating disorder. Therefore, healthcare professionals are required to gather information about the mental health of the individual, a comprehensive medical history, and family background before they can diagnose this condition. They may also be required to ask psychological symptoms to understand if the individual suffers from associated disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc. The symptoms of binge eating disorder are similar to obsessive eating disorder (OCD). Health care professionals may use different methods to identify the problem.

 Treatment For Binge Eating Disorder

The treatment for binge eating disorder is no different from the treatment offered for patients with obesity. One must be prepared to adopt a low-calorie diet and incorporate regular exercise into their routine. Some medications have been found as effective for this disorder. However, there is information that home remedies can be effective in reducing the frequency and the severity of the symptoms of binge eating.

Binge eating disorder is a mental health condition. Therefore, the patient is required to approach the subject with an open mind before he or she makes an attempt to overcome the problem.

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