What is Binge-eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is categorized as an eating disorder wherein a person may feel an uncontrollable urge to consume rather large quantities of food at frequent intervals, resulting in overeating. This compulsive overeating syndrome is difficult to be curbed as one might not be able to stop even if they’re uncomfortably full. It often leads to feelings of guilt and embarrassment.

An eating disorder is connected with physical needs and emotional cravings. These issues need to be taken seriously as it may induce further irreversible health issues. It is more common in women than in men.  

What signs should you watch out for?
  • Inability to control excessive eating
  • Constant craving for food
  • Using food as a means of comfort or stress reliever
  • Tendency to hide or secretly eat alone
  • Eating when already full or not hungry
  • Eating at a rapid pace at shorter intervals (binge episodes)
  • Often feel guilty, disgusted, or depressed about overeating
  • Taking no interest in trying to burn extra calories
  • Keeping a stockpile of extra food to satisfy cravings
What are the effects of Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating can lead to a wide variety of physical, emotional, and social problems. People with binge eating disorder often complain of health issues such as – stress and insomnia. One may also get the feeling of being depressed, anxious, and suffer from low self-esteem. One of the most common and dangerous effects of binge eating disorder is weight gain/ obesity. Being overweight invariably leads to increased risks of heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnoea, high blood pressure, and Type-2 Diabetes.

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What puts you at a higher risk?

According to experts, binge-eating disorder could occur as a result of a combination of psychological, biological, and environmental factors.  

Binge eating may be triggered in case of:

  • Family history of eating disorder, depression, anxiety
  • Excessive dieting
  • Obesity
  • Individuals who are or have been criticised for their body weight, shape, or eating habits
  • Social Isolation
  • Substance Use Disorders
Overcoming, Prevention, and Treatment

Discussing symptoms with a certified health professional is the first and foremost step towards treatment of Binge Eating Disorder. Addressing such an issue at an early stage can greatly reduce the risk of associated complications. An expert would recommend a treatment method best suited to a patient’s needs. Treatment methods may include therapy sessions or medication based on the severity of a patient’s situation.

The following steps may be taken as an additional measure (in addition to professional help):

  • Try managing stress by exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and breathing exercises. (Ask a professional first if you have weight related health issues)
  • A healthy breakfast, followed by a balanced lunch and dinner and healthy snacks in between
  • Avoiding or limiting tempting food items
  • Avoiding dieting unless advised by a professional
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Keeping a food log

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