Originally, binge eating disorder (BED) was classified as a subtype of other specified feeding or eating disorder, or OSFED. As of 2013, it is officially its own eating disorder.
This type of disordered eating pattern is life threatening, but very treatable. The following cycle of characteristics is typical of BED:
- Eating a large quantity of food quickly, almost always to the point of feeling uncomfortable. This is called a “binge,” which is defined as “eating in a discrete period of time an amount of food that is much larger than most individuals would eat under similar circumstances.”
- During this period of extreme eating, the individual will feel like they have lost control.
- After a binge episode, additional feelings of guilt and distress will ensue. Those experiencing BED may decide to “go on a diet” after one of these episodes, but doing so can actually make this worse.
It is important to note that after a binge, while the individual may feel shame afterwards, there is not a drive to purge in any way, or use different methods to get rid of the eaten food.
Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, and it affects millions of people every year. If you feel that you have this eating disorder, know that you are not alone. Keep reading below to see if you fit the signs and symptoms, and how Seeds of Hope can help.
The Signs & Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder does share some symptoms with other eating disorders, but it also has unique aspects to it as well. Some of the signs of BED are as follows:
- Weight Fluctuations – Binging behavior consists of eating large amounts of food in a short amount of time, which can lead to weight gain. However, trying to diet after a binge can lead to extreme weight loss, so it is important to look for overall fluctuations in weight.
- New Eating Behaviors – Randomly eating throughout the day with no defined mealtimes, cutting out entire food groups, random fasting, and excessive chewing are all behaviors that could point to BED.
- New Social Patterns – When an individual has Binge Eating Disorder, there will be new social behaviors as well, such as a withdrawal from their usual activities and friends. Being uncomfortable eating around others and in public, as well as creating a strict schedule to make time for binging, are other signs as well.
- Change in Self Esteem – Often, those with BED will have low self-esteem, and will be very concerned with how they “look.” They will look in the mirror to find flaws in their body.
- Other Physical Effects – Stomach cramps, acid reflux, and difficulty concentrating are also symptoms of BED.
It is important to keep in mind that someone with Binge Eating Disorder can have a few or all of these symptoms.
Effects Binge Eating Disorder Has on Your Health
The most common effects that BED has on someone’s health are related to weight gain, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes.
Emotionally, those with Binge Eating disorder are also likely to have depression and anxiety. This eating disorder can make people feel like they are hopeless, on edge, and without energy.
Risk Factors for Binge Eating Disorder
Anyone can have an eating disorder, however, there are a few factors that can influence whether an individual is particularly at risk. These include:
- History of extreme weight changes
- Obsession with dieting or fads
- Family history of depression or mood disorders
- Emotional abuse and/or neglect
If you have one or more of these risk factors, it is important to keep an eye on your relationship with food.
How Is Binge Eating Disorder Treated?
Residential, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs are all used to treat Binge Eating Disorder. The right treatment method for you depends on different factors such as age, gender, and medical history.