Diet and Nutrition

How Common is Binge-Eating Disorder?

How Common is Binge-Eating Disorder?

Key Takeaways

  • The nature and cause of BED and other eating conditions are unclear to researchers
  • Individuals with binge eating disorder have particular behaviors as well as emotional issues
  • BED is a serious condition that affects the mental health

Individuals with Binge eating disorder (BED) experience episodes of binge eating or excess eating. They may also skip meals constantly, but they will not purge after binges. Although not always, the condition can eventually cause significant weight gain. 

Most people with BED try to hide their binge eating habits and strive to eat normally while they are in the presence of other people. They usually eat filling foods which are rich in calories. They eat extremely quickly, without tasting or enjoying their food. People without the condition try to avoid eating these foods since they find them fattening.

Although binge eaters don't purge, they may fast periodically and diet recurrently. They may also feel ashamed or a sense of guilt after binge episodes. They normally feel lonely, a serious factor that can actually prolong the disorder significantly. BED is believed to be more prominent than anorexia and bulimia and it is prevalent in women and men alike.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

The nature and cause of BED and other eating conditions are unclear to researchers. Eating disorders mostly include abnormal functioning in various brain parts. The following are factors that researchers focus and they can affect BED:

  • Depression: 50% of total persons with from BED suffer from depression or have a personal binge eating history.
  • Dieting: Binges may sometimes occur as a result of skipping meals, failing to eat sufficient food daily or failing to eat particular foods.
  • Emotional discord: According to research, individuals with BED may have difficulty in controlling their emotions. The majority of people with binge eating disorder report that anger, sadness, boredom, worry or stress can make them experience binges.
  • Biology: Researchers are studying BED affected by brain chemicals and the process in which the body utilizes calories. Due to the common occurrence of binge eating disorder amongst members of the same family, studies also show that binge eating may be contributed by genes. Neuroimaging (brain pictures) may help understand BED better.

Individuals with binge eating disorder maybe exhibit abnormal, particular behaviors as well as emotional issues. They may consist of alcohol misuse, lack of self-control, feeling isolated from their societies and impulsive behavior.

Major BED Features

Behaviors may comprise of:

  • Uncontrollable eating
  • Eating to excess
  • Eating quicker than normal during binges
  • Eating excessively until one feels uncomfortable.
  • Eating huge quantities of food, even when not hungry
  • Eating in isolation, due to shame from the excess amount of food being consumed
  • Hoarding food
  • Hiding various behaviors, such as concealing food and food wrappers.
  • Avoiding inquiries about weight and eating

Emotional and Psychological Symptoms

  • Being angry, anxious, feeling unworthy or ashamed after binge eating. Binge eating is an attempt to relieve anxiety and suppress emotional distress. 
  • There may be co-occurring conditions like depression. BED victims may feel isolated, moody or irritated, which are all common symptoms of depression.
  • A negative attitude towards one's body size and shape. Those with BED may have received negative comments regarding their body as they grew up, or concurrently with their disorder.
  • Evading differences and confrontation for the sake of peace.

The following are patterns and forms of character that are perceived to be related to BED:

  • A rigid attitude
  • An intense desire to be in charge
  • An inability to express feelings and needs easily and articulately
  • Exhibiting a perfectionist attitude
  • Striving to make others happy
  • A feeling of insufficiency and worthlessness
  • A feeling of guilt and shame
  • Depression and associated symptoms
  • Low self-respect
  • Discontent with one’s body shape.
  • Lack of self-control
  • A feeling of anxiety 

Physical Symptoms

  • Remarkable weight gain: But a BED victim may or may not have an increased body weight. Although BED and weight gain are correlated, not all people who are overweight have binge eating disorder, and vice versa.
  • Digestive issues
  • Painful joints and muscles
  • Difficult breathing
  • Blemished skin

Health Impacts

BED significantly affects one's emotional and physical health.

The most common health effects consist of:

  • Digestion-related issues like bloating, stomachaches, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Lack of proper nutrition due to the quality of food one eats: they usually have high-fat content but don’t have vitamins and minerals. 
  • The following health effects may occur if a victim has a remarkably increased weight:

A well-balanced diet and healthy eating behaviors, as well as weight management, can help reverse the majority of BED symptoms.

BED is a serious condition that affects one's mental health. Obesity is a category of body weight and is a symptom which may be caused by binge eating disorder. Although many BED effects demonstrate a direct correlation with obesity, it is important to always differentiate the symptom from the disorder.

Finding Assistance

People will often try to use their own means of controlling BED, and thus suffer from depression once they fail to regulate it. This causes the condition to escalate, leading to isolation and sometimes absenteeism from work and school.  

People with BED usually require assistance and support from a health care expert.

  • Initially, one needs to consult a General Practitioner as a vital step of self care. After examining the physical impacts of BED, a GP may refer the patient to a dietician, psychologist, or therapist.
  • Personal psychotherapy and family therapy can be surprisingly conducive to solving psychological and emotional problems that may be propagating the disorder.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on thinking patterns and altering them healthily. 
  • Both psychological and physical treatments of the disorder are important for ensuring permanent recovery

Recuperation from Binge Eating Disorder

People suffering from BED may not avoid looking for assistance and support due to fear of possible cold reception or rejection if they reveal the extent of their behavior. Being ashamed and worrying about rejection may prevent one from changing. It may take for one to overcome the intense feeling of isolation common in BED.

By encouraging victims during difficult recovery stages, support groups can be paramount overcoming binge eating disorder.

One can only start to recover once he/she is ready to change.  Spotting and breaking dieting cycle and as well as the binge eating cycle is vital in the recovery process.

One's attempt to break their cycle of binge eating can be made easier with the support of a loved one who attempts to understand where the disorder is stemming from. 

A significant majority of people will have some episodes of relapse on their pathway to recovery; it is important to consider them as a stepping stone of recovery rather than a failure. Studying ways of surviving these periods of relapse can increase probability of long-standing recovery.

Individuals suffering from BED must seek assistance from a health care expert like a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social professional. Just like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, there are various binge eating disorder treatments that may be effective.

  • Advice on nutrition and psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy. 
  • Drug therapy, like antidepressant drugs such as fluoxetine or drugs for reducing appetite, according to a qualified doctor’s prescription.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy which concentrates on the vital function of thinking in determining how a person feels and what they do. A person with BED can get help from a therapist individually or can join a group of other people with the disorder for therapy. Seeking help as soon as you start experiencing the BED symptoms can greatly cap the outcome of the condition.