|Binge Eating Disorder Definition
What is binge eating disorder?
An illness that resembles bulimia nervosa is binge eating
disorder. Like bulimia, the disorder is characterized by episodes
of uncontrolled eating or bingeing. However binge eating disorder
differs from bulimia because its sufferers do not purge their
bodies of excess food. Individuals with binge eating disorders feel that they lose
control of themselves when eating. They eat large quantities of
food and do not stop until they are uncomfortably full. Usually,
they have more difficulty losing weight and keeping it off than do
people with other serious weight problems. Most people with the
disorder are obese and have a history of weight fluctuations. Binge
eating disorder is found in about 2 percent of the general
population -- more often in women than men. Recent research shows
that binge eating disorder occurs in about 30 percent of people
participating in medically supervised weight control programs.
Diagnosing Binge Eating Disorder:
BED is formally characterized according to the following five criteria:
- Recurring binge eating episodes. An episode of binge eating is
characterized by both of the following:
- Eating an amount of food that is definitely larger than most
people would eat in a similar amount of time under similar
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.
- The binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of
- eating much more rapidly than you usually would
- eating until you feel uncomfortably full
- eating large amounts of food when you don't physically feel
- eating alone because of embarrassment at how much you are
- feeling disgusted with yourself, depressed, or very guilty
- Binge eating causes emotional and physical stress or
- The binge eating occurs, on average, at least two days a week
for six months or more.
- The binge eating is not followed by other inappropriate
behaviors such as purging, fasting, excessive exercise and does not
occur exclusively during episodes of other eating disorders, such
as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
If you find that you have these criteria, it is important to
seek support immediately.
How to support those with Binge Eating Disorder?
Several studies have found that people with binge eating
disorder may find it harder than other people to stay in weight
loss treatment. Binge eaters also may be more likely to regain
weight quickly. For these reasons, people with the disorder may
require support that focuses on their binge eating before they
try to lose weight.
Even those who are not overweight are frequently distressed by
their binge eating and may benefit from support.
Several methods can be used to support binge eating
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients techniques
to monitor and change their eating habits as well as to change the
way they respond to difficult situations.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy helps people examine their
relationships with friends and family and to make changes in
- Treatment with medications such as antidepressants may
be helpful for some individuals, but drug therapy should be
avoided or used as last resort.
- Self-help groups are an important source of support.
Researchers are still trying to determine which method or
combination of methods is the most effective in controlling binge
eating disorder. The type of support that is best for an
individual is a matter for discussion between the individual and
their support group.
If you believe you have binge eating disorder, it's important
you realize that you are not alone. Most people who have the
disorder have tried unsuccessfully to control it on their own. You
may want to seek the help of a support group.
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