People who engage in binge eating tend to consume huge quantities of food in one sitting very fast. In most cases, they will eat even when their bodies are not hungry. Most bingers will actually plan to engage in a binge eating session, they will buy huge quantities of food to consume at a particular time. This behavior leads to the diagnose of binge eating disorder.
Statistically, it is believed that it affects quite a huge number of males, contrary to popular belief. However, it can be hard to detect since it mainly takes place in private. Early diagnosis is crucial to effective treatment. In this article, we will delve deep into binge eating.
What Is Binge Eating Disorder?
The binge eating disorder is a psychological condition that involves eating huge quantities of food in one sitting. Unlike bulimia, the person who eats the food does not engage in episodes of purging to get rid of the food. Most people that engage in the behavior are overweight.
A person who binges on food will have very peculiar habits. For instance, they will consume their food very quickly and eat even when they do not feel hungry. Even after they are full, they will persist with eating until it becomes physically discomforting.
Additionally, such people have emotional feelings around food. They will usually feel guilty or ashamed about how much food they consume. Consequently, they will have emotions such as anger, stress, boredom, and even distress. Also, individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder do not like eating in public places. Since they have a peculiarity of consuming huge quantities, they will tend to eat alone.
Although the eating episodes may be planned, sometimes they will occur compulsively. Consequently, the person will not be in a proper state of mind during the binging episode. They lose all control to make themselves stop shoving the food down their throat. It is only after the food runs out that they regain control.
Quickcare or ER?
In rare occurrences, binge eating can lead to an ER visit. Consuming huge quantities of food is never safe for anyone. The red flags for an ER visit are:
- Extreme abdominal pain due to torn stomach lining.
- Difficulty breathing due to ruptured esophagus.
- Extreme dehydration from consuming a certain type of food.
Diagnosing Binge Eating Disorder
A binge eating disorder can be diagnosed through a psychological evaluation and an examination of your eating habits. Other complex tests may also be performed by your doctor to check for the effects of binge eating on your body. For instance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems, sleep-related breathing problems, GERD, and diabetes. The test will typically include:
- Blood and urine tests.
- A physical exam.
- Consultation at a sleep disorder center.
The Diagnosis Criteria
The diagnosis of a binge eating disorder is done using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This criterion was created by health experts and published by the American Psychiatric Association. It lists these points as a diagnosis for a binge eating disorder.
1. Recurrent Episodes when Abnormally Huge Quantities of Food Are Consumed
The binge-eating episode is usually characterized by a loss of control during the food consumption. The binger has no idea how much food they are shoving down their throat and they are not aware of the fact that they can stop.
Additionally, the food is eaten at any time without strict adherence to a schedule. That means that even the dead of night can be an opportunity for binging as long as there is no one watching.
2. A Binge Eating Disorder Episode Will Usually Have 3 or More Factors
- Eating at a faster pace than normal people eat.
- Ingesting food even when you feel discomfort from the food build up.
- Eating large quantities even when you are not hungry.
- Eating in isolation because of the shame of eating so much food.
- Feeling disgusted and guilt after an episode of overeating.
- A major distress that you may have an eating problem is usually present.
- The binging sessions occur at least twice a week continuously over six months or more.
- After a binging disorder, the affected person does not try to engage in a purge to clear the contents from their stomach. Additionally, there is no excessive exercising or the use of laxatives to rid the body of food.
What Is the Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder?
A binge eating disorder is treatable, and most people make a significant recovery if they get the proper help and support. Treatment can be any of the followings.
1. Self Help Program
Today, there are numerous types of self-help programs. It is thus important that you choose one, which is right for you. Your doctor may recommend one that is right for you after a visit. These programs can also be found in books at your local library. For some, this program is usually enough to help them overcome their problem.
2. Psychological Therapy
Sometimes, the only way to be cured is to see a therapist who will help you tackle any underlying issues you have. The therapy can be in three forms:
i) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This works by identifying any thinking patterns, feelings, and behavior that may be triggering the binging episodes.
ii) Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
This therapy focuses on helping you to work on regaining control over your personal emotions, which is a huge trigger in binge eating.
iii) Interpersonal Therapy
This therapy focuses on how relationships may be affecting you and causing you to binge on food.
3. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
In some cases, your doctor will prescribe this antidepressant pill as part of a self-help program. The pill helps to boost your mood, which lowers the likelihood that you will binge. However, the long-term effects of the pill are unknown.
How Long Will You Have a Binge Eating Disorder?
How well the treatment works depend on how committed, you are to being cured. In some patients, they may experience periods of normalcy and later on short periods during which they binge on food.
The surest way to get the answers that you need regarding binge eating disorder is to visit your general practitioner. It is especially so if you find that you have any of the symptoms listed above. Most people who seek help do end up getting cured of the severe form of the disorder.