Binge eating is when you consume unusual large amounts of food. You also may want to stop eating but can not resist the urge and continue to keep eating. Normally a person will eat 1500 calories to 3000 calories a day. When a binge eater eats there are times when they can consume as many as 10,000 to 20,000 calories at one time. This is a disorder that has only recently been getting diagnosed as an illness in fact many experts are still trying to disclaim binge eating. However, new estimates say now that 4% of the US population has this disorder. They also say that girls and women are slightly more likely to develop the disorder than boys and men. Both children and adults can develop this disorder but it is found most commonly in people in their 40’s and 50’s.
What Causes this Disorder? The causes of this disorder are still unknown. Up to half of all people with this disorder have a history of depression. Whether depression is a cause or effect of this disorder is unclear. It may be unrelated. Many people report that anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety or other negative emotions can trigger a binge episode. Impulsive behavior and certain other psychological problems may be more common in people with this disorder. There are major complications of this disorder. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, gallbladder disease, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
How do I know if I have binge eating disorder? Most of us overeat from time to time, and some of us often feel we have eaten more than we should have. Eating a lot of food does not necessarily mean that you have this disorder. Experts generally agree that most people with this serious problem often eat an unusually large amount of food and feel their eating is out of control. People with this disorder eat much more quickly than usual during a binge episode. They also eat until they are uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food even when they are not really hungry. Binge eaters useally eat alone because they are embarrassed about the amount of food they eat. They tend to feel disgusted, depressed, or even guilty after overeating. This also occurs in another eating disorder called bulimia nervosa. Persons with bulimia nervosa, however, usually purge, fast, or do strenuous exercise after they binge eat. Purging means vomiting or using a lot of diuretics (water pills) or laxatives to keep from gaining weight. Fasting is not eating for at least 24 hours. Strenuous exercise, in this case, means exercising for more than an hour just to keep from gaining weight after binge eating. Purging, fasting, and over exercising are dangerous ways to try to control your weight.
This disorder generally isn’t an illness you can treat on your own but you can do things at your home to try and control the disorder. Here are some examples. Stick to your treatment. Don’t skip therapy sessions. If you have meal plans, do your best to stick to them and don’t let setbacks derail your overall efforts. Avoid dieting. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Eat breakfast. Many people with this disorder skip breakfast. But studies show that if you eat breakfast, you’re less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day. Don’t stock up. Keep less food in your home than you normally do. That may mean more-frequent trips to the grocery store, but it may also take away the temptation and ability to binge eat. Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn’t mean you’re eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements. Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy. Understand that they have your best interests at heart. Get active. Talk to your health care providers about what kind of exercise is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight.
What if I think I have this disorder? If you think you might have binge eating disorder, it is important to know that you are not alone. Most people who have the disorder have tried but failed to control it on their own. You may want to get professional help. Talk to your health care provider about the type of help that may be best for you. The good news is that most people do well in treatment and can overcome binge eating. See your doctor.