Binge Eating Disorder - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

By: Juliet Cohen

Binge eating disorder is probably the most common eating disorder. Binge eating also occurs in another eating disorder called bulimia nervosa. People with binge eating disorder frequently eat large amounts of food while feeling a loss of control over their eating. This disorder is different from binge-purge syndrome (bulimia nervosa) because people with binge eating disorder usually do not purge afterward by vomiting or using laxatives. Binge eating disorder is a little more common in women than in men; three women for every two men have it. The disorder affects blacks as often as whites. About 2 percent of all adults in the United States (as many as 4 million Americans) have binge eating disorder. About 10 to 15 percent of people who are mildly obese. People with binge eating disorder often eat an unusually large amount of food and feel out of control during the binges. Binge eating involves more than just eating a lot.

Binge eating, Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are all considered eating disorders because they involve unhealthy patterns of eating. People with bulimia nervosa (sometimes called binge-purge syndrome) binge on food and then vomit or use laxatives to avoid gaining weight. They may also fast (stop eating for a while) or compulsively exercise after an eating binge. All three of these eating disorders involve unhealthy eating patterns that begin gradually and build to the point where a person feels unable to control them. All eating disorders can lead to serious health consequences, and all involve emotional distress. Bulimia nervosa (sometimes called binge-purge syndrome) is different from binge eating disorder because people with bulimia vomit or use laxatives to try to keep themselves from gaining weight after eating.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

1.Depression

2.Anger.

3.Sadness.

4.Boredom.

5.Anxiety.

6.Certain other emotional problems.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

1. Eating much more food during a binge episode than during a normal meal or snack

2. Frequent dieting without weight loss.

3. Hoarding food.

4. Hiding empty food containers.

5. Feeling depressed, disgusted or upset over the amount eaten.

Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder

Several methods are being used to treat binge eating disorder. Drug therapy, such as antidepressants, may be helpful for some people. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients techniques to monitor and change their eating habits as well as to change the way they respond to difficult situations. Interpersonal psychotherapy helps people examine their relationships with friends and family and to make changes in problem areas. Self-help groups also may be a source of support. Researchers are still trying to determine which method or combination of methods is the most effective in controlling binge eating disorder.

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