BINGE EATING DISORDER is:
- an eating disorder in which an individual:
- frequently consumes unusually LARGE amounts of food,
- feels out of control with their eating and
- is unable to stop eating.
- considered a relatively new (and misunderstood) diagnosis and
BINGE EATING DISORDER is not:
- about overeating.
Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal but for some people, excessive overeating that feels out of control and becomes a regular occurrence crosses the line to BINGE EATING DISORDER. When you have BINGE EATING DISORDER, you may be embarrassed about overeating and vow to stop but you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binging.
What Causes BINGE EATING DISORDER?
There are several hypotheses on the cause of BINGE EATING DISORDER. As a medical condition, BINGE EATING DISORDER is believed to be caused by a
- neurochemical imbalance in the brain
- has been linked to an imbalance in serotonin and dopamine, genetics, and age (begins in late teens early 20’s).
Other possible factors include environmental, social, psychological, and medical/psychiatric influences such as restrictive or irregular eating habits, significant weight changes, depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, weight related discrimination like bullying, poor relationships with family, abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual), drug or alcohol abuse/dependence, and trauma or loss.
Overall, the best hypothesis is that BINGE EATING DISORDER may be attributed to a confluence of several of these items leading to what is today known as BINGE EATING DISORDER.
Signs and Symptoms of BINGE EATING DISORDER:
- Eating until uncomfortably full
- Eating much faster than normal
- Eating large amounts of food when not hungry
- Eating alone because of embarrassment due to the amount of food eaten
- Feeling ashamed, guilty, or disgusted over how much is eaten
Note: there are no compensatory behaviors such as forced vomiting or exercising associated with Binge Eating Disorder
Complications of BINGE EATING DISORDER:
- Poor quality of life & problems in:
- Home Life
- Work Life
- Social Life
- Weight gain leading to diabetes and cardiac complications
- Loneliness and Isolation due to embarrassment and hiding of symptoms
- Feeling bad about life due to:
- Lack of control over eating
- Feelings of guilt over obsessive overeating
To diagnose BINGE EATING DISORDER the following symptoms must be present.
- Eating large amounts of food in a short period of time usually 2 hours.
- Feeling of having no control over what and how much is being eaten during an episode.
- Episodes of binge eating recurring at least once a week for three months.
Take the Self-Test
(A score of 6 or more may warrant follow-up by a Physician for diagnostic evaluation)
Treatment options for BINGE EATING DISORDER:
As a neurochemical disorder, first line treatment is medication. Medications such as amphetamines have received FDA approval for BINGE EATING DISORDER. In clinical trials of these medications they have been shown to control the obsessions focused on eating. In addition, other pharmacological interventions such as antidepressants from the SSRI class of medications as well as an anti-seizure medication called topiramate have also be used. Patients can also be directed to medical research studies investigating potential treatments for BINGE EATING DISORDER.
As a relatively new medical diagnosis, most clinicians are unaware of this eating disorder, focusing on anorexia and bulimia which are separate disorders from BINGE EATING DISORDER. Thus, many patients do not receive treatment due to misdiagnosis and misunderstanding of this disorder.
The National Collaborating Center for Mental Health encourages the use of an evidence based self- help program. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy modified for Binge Eating Disorder may also be offered to patients as a treatment option either alone or with medication.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BINGE EATING DISORDER
Institute for Advanced Medical Research at Mercer University
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Atlanta, GA 30341
- an eating disorder in which an individual:
- Binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder.
- Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting 3.5% of women, 2% of men, and up to 1.6% of adolescents.
- The DSM-5, released in May 2013, lists binge eating disorder as a diagnosable eating disorder.