Definition of Binge Eating Disorder:
- an eating disorder in which an individual:
- frequently consumes unusually LARGE amounts of food
- feels out of control with their eating
- unable to stop eating
- considered a relatively new (and misunderstood) diagnosis
*Binge Eating Disorder is not over-eating*
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 to eat.
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 that has been linked to an imbalance in serotonin and dopamine, genetics, and age (beginning 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 and 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
Treatment options 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. However, Dr. Sambunaris at the Institute for Advanced Medical Research at Mercer University believes that Binge Eating Disorder is a medical condition that needs to be treated by a professional.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BINGE EATING DISORDER
Contact the Institute for Advanced Medical Research at Mercer University
3015 Flowers Road South
Atlanta, GA 30341
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