Binge Eating Disorder: Everything You Should Know! (2022)
Suppose you’ve ever had a day when everything seems to go wrong. You feel fat and ugly and can’t stop thinking about food. So you eat in secret, behind locked doors or after everyone else has gone to bed. And then you feel worse. But the fat-and-ugly thought cycle continues, so you take comfort in your food again.
And again, until one day, you look in the mirror and see someone who is overweight, and all of a sudden, that’s not okay with you anymore. So you start hitting the gym every day and drinking more water than soda. But that doesn’t seem enough to eliminate all this excess weight.
So what do you do? You begin counting calories because they must be the reason, right? And so begins another spiral: restricting your eating to lose as much weight as possible while still being able to maintain it on a daily basis; calculating how much protein, fat and carbohydrates are contained on your plate before eating anything; forcing yourself to vomit after every binge eating session because that’s the only way to get back down to an acceptable weight again, and obsessively counting calories again because obviously, it wasn’t enough the first time around.
If you’re one of them, you might suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Here’s more about this disorder, its signs and treatment options.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder, or BED, is one of the most common eating disorders today. It is an illness that is not well-known or understood by the public at large, which is unfortunate because it is a very treatable disorder. BED is characterized by frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating resulting from a lack of control over one’s appetite and/or emotions.
BED usually begins in early adulthood, but it has also been known to affect teenagers and children. Feelings of shame and guilt often accompany BED. These feelings often lead people to try to hide their BED or deny that they have a problem.
What are the Causes of BED?
The exact causes of BED are still unknown, but several factors contribute to the onset of this disorder. Biologically, BED is associated with a high level of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood regulation and appetite control. BED sufferers have higher serotonin levels than normal, which explains why they are often depressed and anxious.
This imbalance also explains why BED sufferers feel they cannot control their urges to binge eat. There is also a strong genetic component to BED. If you have a family member who struggles with eating disorders, especially BED, you are at a higher risk of developing the disorder yourself. BED sufferers also tend to have other health concerns, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
- Eating large amounts of food in one sitting (often foods that are high in fat and sugar)
- Eating when not hungry
- Eating alone
- Feeling great shame and guilt after binge eating
- Equating weight with health and self-worth
- Feeling depressed, anxious or having low self-esteem
- Obsessing about weight and dieting
- Having weight fluctuations without changing one’s eating or exercise habits
- Being preoccupied with what and how much one is eating
How is Binge Eating Disorder Diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosing BED is having an open and honest conversation with your doctor. Make sure to tell your doctor about your concerns, feelings, and fears. Once you open the door to communication and honesty, the rest will fall into place. Next, your doctor will conduct a physical exam to rule out any possible medical causes, such as thyroid problems or diabetes.
Next up is a psychological evaluation. This will include a thorough assessment of your current mental state, an analysis of your past experiences and an examination of your current relationships. The evaluation will also include a self-assessment test that will help determine if you might be suffering from an eating disorder. This test is the most common way to diagnose eating disorders.
Treatment and Medication Options for Binge Eating Disorder
BED is a treatable disorder; most sufferers experience significant improvements with proper treatment. Treating BED involves a number of different approaches, including therapy, nutritional and lifestyle changes, medication, and support groups.
The following are some of the most common treatment methods: – Psychotherapy: BED is often treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a form of psychotherapy that examines the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT for BED focuses on the following:
- Changing negative thoughts about weight and food
- Using relaxation techniques to control impulses to binge eat
- Setting realistic goals for weight loss and health
- Improving self-esteem and confidence through positive self-talk
- Making changes in your lifestyle (eating healthier, exercising more) that will improve your eating habits and health
Medication: BED is often associated with anxiety and depression, so antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed to treat BED. These medications help regulate serotonin and GABA, two brain chemicals that significantly regulate appetite and control emotions.
Prevention of Binge Eating Disorder
There are many ways to prevent BED and help someone who may be struggling with binge eating. First, talk about it. Make it easy for people to express their feelings and concerns without being afraid of being judged. Educate yourself about binge eating and help others understand what it is and what it is not. Second, practice self-compassion.
BED is an illness, something we don’t choose for ourselves. It is not a lifestyle choice or a deliberate action. It’s a disease, and it needs Help. Finally, support each other and love one another. Don’t let your struggles become someone else’s struggles. There is help out there, but you have to ask for it.
Conclusion: Understanding Binge Eating Disorder
BED is a serious but treatable eating disorder. BED can be treated with therapy, nutritional and lifestyle changes, medication, and support groups. The best way to prevent BED is to talk about it and ensure you understand what it is and is not.