We all overeat at some point or other during the course of our lives, i.e., think Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Christmas, etc. However, if you regularly overeat while feeling out of control and powerless to stop, you may be suffering from binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food resulting in feelings of loss of control.
Persons struggling with binge eating often feel guilty, disgusted, regret, and depression following a binge eating episode. People who engage in binge eating are uncomfortable and distressed by their behavior as they do not have a desire to eat excessively but lack the ability to stop themselves. Most people that binge eat worry about the perception of others surrounding their eating, how overeating will affect their body, if they will be judged by their weight and appearance, etc. Although, both females and males can suffer from binge eating disorder it is twice as common among women than men.
Many suffers of binge eating disorder will overeat do so at least once a week and usually tend to try and hide their behavior from others. The episodes of overeating, losing control, anxiety surrounding the perceived negative perception of others maintains the maladaptive cycle of overeating. Unfortunately, many people base their perceptions of themselves on the thoughts and feelings of others. However, on the flip side there are people that base their perception of others on the way they look, finances, intellect, possessions, etc.
Symptoms of binge eating disorder typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood, often after a major diet. During a binge, persons may eat even when they are not hungry and continue eating long after you’re full. People that binge eat often consume food so quickly that they barely register what they have eaten nor have they had the opportunity to taste the food they are consuming.
Binge eating may be comforting for a brief period of time, but once time has passed and but then reality sets back in, regret, disgust, and self-loathing will usually follow. Binge eating can lead to health related issues and concerns such as weight gain, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. Overeating, self-loathing, regret, overeating, self-loathing, etc., becomes a vicious cycle that is reinforced with every episode. Psychological risk factors of binge eating include; depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, image issues, poor impulse control, etc.
Unlike with other eating disorders such as bulimia, there are no regular attempts to “make up” for the binges through vomiting, fasting, or over-exercising. People with binge eating disorder are embarrassed and ashamed of their eating habits, so they often try to hide their symptoms and eat in secret. This can make it tough for family and friends to spot the warning signs.
9 Signs of Binge Eating Disorder:
- Periods of excessive overeating
- Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
- Hiding large amounts of empty food packages, wrappers, junk food, high calorie meals, etc.
- Rapidly eating large amounts of food
- Eating even when full
- Emotional symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating
- Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
- Feeling guilty, disgusted, ashamed, or depressed after overeating
- Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
Binge eating disorder can lead to a wide variety of problems or challenges that consist of physical, emotional, and social problems. People with binge eating disorder report more health issues, stress, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts than people without an eating disorder.