In my previous article, I talked about emotional or stress eating. Today I am going to talk about an even more serious subject. What is binge eating about? How can I tell the difference between emotional eating and bingeing? Do I have Binge Eating Disorder or BED?
First of all, take a deep breath. BED is one of the most common eating disorders in America. Yes, it is serious and yes it can be life-threatening, but it is entirely treatable. BED is more common than HIV, breast cancer, or schizophrenia. It will be okay.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
BED is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food in a short span of time while feeling unable to stop and a loss of control and feeling disgusted or shame over ones’ actions. Basically it is considered to be chronic overeating.
Average BED episodes happen twice a week over the course of 6 months. It is also the most common eating disorder in the USA.
BED often begins in late teens and early adulthood, but can be seen in anyone. Roughly 40% of those with BED are male.
BED was first explained as Night Eating Syndrome by Albert Stunkard in 1959. Binge Eating Disorder was created to define similar behavior without the nocturnal aspect attached to it.
The negative feelings that occur during and after a binge usually lead to a continuous use of food to cope creating a vicious cycle.
Diagnostic Criteria for BED
In order to diagnose BED, you must have both of the following when you binge eat.
1. Eating in a select amount of time, normally 2 hours, a substantially larger amount of food than what most people would eat in similar circumstances within the same amount of time.
2. Feel a lack of control during the episode, such as feeling unable to stop eating and/or not being able to control what or how much they’re eating.
Another main point for diagnosing BED is for the binge episode to contain at least 3 of the following:
- A significant increase in eating
- Eating until feeling stuffed or ill.
- Still consuming large amounts of food when not physically hungry.
- Feeling embarrassed due to the quantity of food or eating by oneself a lot of the time
- Feeling depressed, guilty, or even disgusted with oneself during and after the binge.
You most likely feel significant distress regarding binge eating. The episodes need to occur at least once a week for 3 months and the binge eating is not associated with other eating disorders such as purging with bulimia.
Causes of BED
There are 3 main causes of Binge Eating Disorder. They are:
- Hormonal irregularities or genetic mutations can be associated to binge eating as well as food addiction.
- The correlation between binge eating and depressions is very strong
- Other things that can contribute are:
- low self-esteem
- dissatisafaction with weight and body image
- having problems coping with emotions
- Traumatic events, such as abuse, can lead to an increase in compulsive overeating
- Social pressures are also a contributing factor
Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
Many people with BED go to great lengths to hide their disorder so some of these may not be as noticeable as others.
- Continuing to eat when full
- Inability to stop eating or control what is eaten
- Stockpiling food to eat alone at a later time
- Eating normally with other people, but gorging when alone
- Being stressed or anxious that can only be alleviated by consuming food
- Feeling numb while bingeing
- Never feeling satiated no matter the amount of food consumed
Treatment and the Link to Emotional Eating
Seeking professional and medical treatment can be the most effective way of treating BED. If you or a loved one are suffering, then please seek help.You don’t have to go at this alone.
Stress or emotional eating and BED are not 2 completely separate processes. They are similar processes with distinct differences. After researching both of these the main things that differentiate between the two are the amount of food consumed and the ability to stop eating.
Emotional eating works, so if it happens occasionally then it’s not something to be really concerned about. However, if you don’t listen to your emotional state and continue to eat you can start the cycle that leads to bingeing.
Did you find this post helpful? Can you relate? If you can, then please post a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.