Binge Eating Disorder

By O'Connor Professional Group

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Most people tend to overeat from time to time. However, certain recurring behaviors involving excessive overeating can actually be an indicator of something more concerning. As defined by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), binge eating disorder (BED) is “a type of eating disorder characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.” Symptoms of BED include frequent episodes of consuming a larger amount of food than a standard person would in a short period of time, feeling out of control or even blacking out while experiencing binge eating episodes, eating alone or when not hungry, eating to the point of physical discomfort, and experiencing feelings of shame or guilt regarding binge eating and general food habits.

There are a variety of mental and emotional issues associated with having Binge Eating Disorder. People with the condition are more likely to be depressed, have higher levels of stress and anxiety, experience suicidal thoughts, and have a staggered or interrupted social, familial, and/or work life due to their eating habits. In addition, having BED exposes individuals to more physical health problems such as digestive problems, headaches, joint pains, menstrual problems, muscle pains, and other health complications associated with obesity.

While it may seem reasonable to assume that BED can be “fixed” by simply losing weight and increasing physical activity, this assumption is misplaced. BED, like other Eating Disorders, is often a cause of deeper mental and emotional issues. Binge eating is generally found to be used as a coping mechanism for dealing with unresolved feelings about childhood trauma, sexual assault, or a variety of other difficult experiences.

BED is a complex disorder; it is necessary to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in eating disorders in order to develop a successful recovery strategy. Treatment appropriate for those afflicted with BED includes behavioral change therapy, which focuses on examining relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behavior with the goal of improving coping mechanisms for the patient. Some people have also found self-help books/DVDs and support groups to be helpful in recovery from BED.

Read more about OPG’s work with people suffering from Eating Disorders.


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