Binge Eating

Do you often find yourself having episodes of binge-eating during which you feel like a car rolling down a hill, in that you couldn’t stop eating even if you wanted to?  If so, it is worth considering whether it is time to seek treatment for your binge eating.

Binge eating-disorder is an eating disorder that occurs in 16 out of every 1,000 females and 8 out of every 1,000 males in the United States. Thus, it is relatively rare, as there is a difference between binge eating and everyday overeating. Most people overeat from time to time, especially during celebrations or holidays. Binge eating is defined as eating a large amount of food in a short period of time during which a subjective loss of control over eating is experienced. Of course, a large amount of food and a short period of time are both subjective concepts, but experts say eating over 2,000 calories in less than 2 hours could be considered a binge episode.

Binge-eating episodes are also associated with some or all of the following:

  • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed about the amount of food being eaten
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating much more rapidly than usual
  • Eating large amounts of food despite not feeling physically hungry
  • Feeling depressed, guilty, or disgusted with oneself after binging

If you have been experiencing these episodes at least once a week for at least 3 months, and you experience distress because of your binge eating, you may have binge-eating disorder.

Here is some more information about binge-eating disorder:

  • Typically, binge episodes are triggered by negative affect, or a “bad mood”. Other triggers include dietary restraint, negative thoughts or feelings about one’s body weight or shape, boredom, and interpersonal stressors.
  • Often, people find that binging helps them cope with stressors in the short term, but long-term consequences include negative evaluations about the self, a state of unease and a generalized dissatisfaction with life.
  • While most people who seek treatment for binge eating are overweight or obese, binge eating can also occur in normal-weight individuals.
  • The disorder usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood, but it can start in later adulthood as well.
  • Crossover from binge-eating disorder to other eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa are uncommon.
  • Binge-eating disorder tends to run in families.
  • Often, individuals suffering from binge-eating disorder experience a great deal of shame over their binge eating, and as a consequence, may isolate themselves from loved ones.

Binge eating and its consequences could be detrimental to your mental and physical health. If you seek to gain control over your eating, there are experts at Great Lakes Psychology Group that can help. Make an appointment with one of our eating disorder specialists today.

Note: if you consistently engage in any activity that is meant to compensate for the calories consumed during a binge eating episode, such as vomiting, excessive exercise, or the use of diuretics or laxatives, you may have bulimia nervosa, not binge-eating disorder. Visit our Eating Disorders page for more information.

Related Information: