What is Binge Eating Disorder?

People with binge eating disorder often eat an unusually large amount of food and feel out of control during the binges. Unlike bulimia or anorexia, binge eaters do not throw up their food, exercise a lot, or eat only small amounts of only certain foods.

Because of this, binge eaters are often overweight or obese.

People with binge eating disorder also may:

• Eat more quickly than usual during binge episodes
• Eat until they are uncomfortably full
• Eat when they are not hungry
• Eat alone because of embarrassment
• Feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating

It’s estimated that about 2 percent of all adults in the United States (approx 4 million) have binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder affects women slightly more often than men.

What causes binge eating disorder?

Researchers are unsure of the causes and nature of binge eating and other eating disorders. Eating disorders likely involve abnormal activity in several different areas of the brain.

Here are 4 factors that researchers have found to have a high likelihood of affecting binge eating:

• Depression. As many as half of all people with binge eating disorder are depressed or have been depressed in the past.

• Dieting. Some people binge after skipping meals, not eating enough food each day, or avoiding certain kinds of food.

• Coping skills. Many people who are binge eaters say that being angry, sad, bored, worried, or stressed can cause them to binge eat.

• Biology. Researchers are looking into how brain chemicals and metabolism (the way the body uses calories) affect binge eating disorder. Studies have shown that people with addictive tendencies can have the same area of their brain light up when eating sugar as do people that are addicted to cocaine.

Can someone get over binge eating disorder?

Yes, someone can get over binge eating disorder.

Sometimes people grow out of the disorder as their life circumstances change, or if they reach out for support from books, support groups, personal development resources or health care professionals.

Reaching out for support generally provides faster and permanent recovery, as trying to heal oneself without help can be a difficult psychological situation.

As with bulimia, there are different ways to treat binge eating disorder that may be helpful for some people.

• Nutritional advice and psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

• Drug therapy, such as antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac) or appetite suppressants prescribed by a doctor CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. Therapy for a person with binge eating disorder may be one­-on-­one with a therapist or group­based.

Statistics and Source Credits: http://www.womenshealth.gov.

For a free video course to help overcome binge eating and additional resources, visit http://www.bingeeatingbreakthrough.com.

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