There are many men and women walking around with a secret. They may look healthy or embarrassingly fat. They may be teenagers, or be old enough to be parents of teenagers themselves.
They may be African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian or Native American. They may be well-off financially, or they may be middle class or poor.
The thing all these seemingly different people have in common is that they all suffer from binge eating disorder.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, binge eating disorder is when a person has recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food to the point of being uncomfortable, often doing it very quickly.
During this binge of food, the person feels out of control. He or she may feel ashamed of this activity, and may feel guilty or distressed afterwards.
Those diagnosed with BED do not regularly purge or over-exercise after these episodes.
Binge eating is not gorging on Thanksgiving. It is not overdoing it on vacation. Binge eating can be a life-threatening, severe disorder but it can also be treatable.
Those who suffer from BED may also be at risk for suicide, have impaired functioning, and may have other psychiatric disorders.
5 Things to Know About Binge Eating Disorder
1) Binge eating disorder is common.
In fact, BED is the most common eating disorder in the United States. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, it affects 3.5 percent of women, 2 percent of men, and up to 1.6 percent of adolescents.
2) Binge eating disorder was recently recognized.
The latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as DSM-5,was released in May, 2013. For the first time, it listed binge eating disorder as a diagnosable eating disorder.
3) People with binge eating disorder have a negative body image.
They may feel disgust with their bodies, and may have been teased as children about their bodies.
4) Negative emotions may be the cause of a binge eating episode.
Prior to binge eating, those with BED may experience negative feelings like shame, anger, worthlessness or anxiety. Binging may help them numb these feelings for a period of time, or simply relieve the tension they are feeling.
The most important part to keep in mind is that binge eating is treatable. There is evidence that different forms of therapy, and possibly medication, can help to treat the disorder.
With help from medical professionals, people who suffer from BED can loosen the grip this disorder has on their lives.
Reviewed February 25, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
“Binge eating disorder.” NationalEatinDisorders.org. Web. 24 February 2016.
“Binge eating disorder health center.” WebMD.com. Web. 24 February 2016.