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Binge Eating Disorder

What is a Binge Eating Disorder?

This is a condition that is thought to seriously affect about 2% of the population. People with binge eating disorder frequently eat large amounts of food while feeling a loss of control over their eating. This disorder is different from binge-purge syndrome Bulimia Nervosa, as people with binge eating disorder usually do not purge after eating by vomiting or using laxatives.

What are the symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder?

Most people with a serious binge eating disorder often experience:
Frequent episodes of eating what others would consider abnormally large amounts of food.
Frequent feelings of being unable to control what or how much is eaten.
Several of the following behaviours or feelings:
  • Eating much more rapidly than usual.
  • Eating until uncomfortably full.
  • Eating large amounts of food, even when not physically hungry.
  • Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food eaten.
  • Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating.

How common is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is probably the most common eating disorder affecting about 2% of the adult population. The disorder is more common in those with severe obesity problems and is slightly more common in women than men.

What causes Binge Eating Disorder?

The causes are currently unknown. Up to half of all people with a binge eating disorder have a history of depression. Whether depression is a cause or effect of binge eating is unclear. Many people report that anger, boredom, sadness, anxiety or other negative emotions can trigger a binge episode.
Researchers are currently researching how brain chemicals and metabolism (the way the body burns calories) affect binge eating disorders.

What are the complications of Binge Eating Disorder?

The major complications are the diseases that accompany obesity. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, gall bladder disease, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Most people with a serious binge eating disorder are extremely depressed about their binge eating and try to hide their disorder from friends and family.
People with an untreated binge eating disorder are rarely successful in losing weight through dieting. These people usually require treatment for their binge eating before they try to lose weight.

What treatment is available for people with Binge Eating Disorder?

There are several methods that can treat binge eating disorder.
These include:

Interpersonal Psychotherapy
This helps people examine their relationships with other people and to make changes in problem areas.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Teaches techniques to monitor and change eating habits and more appropriate responses to difficult situations.

Such as antidepressants may be helpful.

Seeking help for treatment for Binge Eating Disorder:

If you believe you have a binge eating disorder it is important to realise that you are not alone. Most people with a binge eating disorder have tried unsuccessfully to control it on their own. If your binge eating is a concern to you and others, talk to your GP. He or she, if appropriate, may refer you to more specialised help.

For more information on Binge Eating Disorder:


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