Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is commonly known by compulsive overeating or consuming abnormal amounts of food while feeling unable to stop and a loss of control. It is characterized by repeated episodes of uncontrolled binge eating and feelings of extreme shame and distress. Although it can occur at any age, it typically starts in the late teens to early twenties. It is a chronic disease and can last for many years.
Like other eating disorders, it is more common in women than men. However, it is the most common type of eating disorders among men. A binge eating episode is characterized by eating larger than normal amounts of food in a relatively short period of time. In BED, this behaviour is accompanied by feelings of distress and lack of control.
What Causes Binge Eating Disorder?
Genetic: People with BED may have increased sensitivity to dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure. There is also strong evidence that the disorder is inherited.
Psychological: A strong correlation has been established between depression and binge eating. Body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and difficulty coping with feelings can also contribute to binge eating disorder.
Emotional trauma: Stressful life events, such as abuse, death, separation from a family member or a car accident, have been found to be risk factors. Childhood bullying due to weight may also contribute.
An episode of binge eating can be triggered by stress, dieting, negative feelings relating to body weight or body shape, and/or the availability of food or boredom.
What are the behavioral and emotional signs/symptoms of BED?
1. Continuously eating even when full
2. Inability to stop eating or control what is eaten
3. Stockpiling food to consume secretly at a later time
4. Eating normally in the presence of others but gorging when isolated
5. Experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety that can only be relieved by eating
6. Feelings of numbness or lack of sensation while bingeing
7. Never experiencing satisfaction no matter what the amount of consumed food is
How to Stop Binging?
The first step in stopping binge eating is to speak to a medical professional. This person can help diagnosing you properly, determine the severity of your illness, and recommend an appropriate treatment. No matter which treatment strategy you use, it is important to also make healthy lifestyle and diet choices when you can.
What are the tactics that one can follow to implement him/herself?
1. Keep a food and mood diary: Identifying your personal triggers is an important step in learning how to control your binge impulses.
2. Practice mindfulness: This can help increase awareness of your binging triggers, all while helping you increase self-control and maintain self-acceptance.
3. Find someone to talk to: It is important to have support, whether it is through your partner, family, a friend, binge eating support groups or online.
4. Choose healthy foods: A diet consisting of foods high in protein and healthy fats, regular meals and whole foods with lots of fruit and vegetables will help keep you full and provide the nutrients you need.
5. Start exercising: Exercise can help enhance weight loss, improve body image and improve your mood and anxiety symptoms.
6. Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep is associated with higher calorie intake and irregular eating patterns. Ensure you are getting at least seven to eight hours of good sleep per night.
With proper care and support, you can start today and live a happy healthy life.