Binge eating disorder (BED) is a life-threatening pathology, but however a treatable one which is followed by intermittent episodes of eating very large amounts of food in a very hastily way and often to the point of discomfort.
A Person often, during the binge phase, loses control and afterwards experiences a feeling of embarrassment, anguish and guilt.
The person suffering from this ailment frequently uses destructive compensatory measures, such as purging, to respond to the binge eating. It has become one of the most common eating disorder in the United States.
It is one of the new types of eating disorders officially recognized in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders). Until recently revised in 2013, BED was listed as a subtype of EDNOS (Eating disorder not otherwise specified), now referred to as OSFED (Other specified feeding or eating disorder). The change is vital as some insurance companies will not cover eating disorder treatment without a DSM (Diagnostic and statistical Manual) diagnosis.
Binge eating is diagnosed when all of the following occur:
- Eating, in a distinct period of time (e.g., within any 3-4 hour period), an amount of food that is beyond doubt larger than what most people will eat in a similar period of time under a similar situation.
- Lack of control feeling during the eating episode (e.g., a sensation that one cannot stop eating or cannot control the type and quantity of the chocked down food).
- Experiencing Recurring of the above mentioned episodes.
The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
- Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
- Eating alone because one wants to avoid the embarrassment caused by how much one is eating.
- Eating much more rapidly than normal.
- Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
- Feeling guilty, disgusted & depressed with one self after eating.
- The binge eating on an average occurs at least once a week for 3 months.
- Noticeable feeling of anguish concerning binge eating is present.
- The phase of binge eating is not related to the periodic use of unsuitable compensatory behaviours, such as purging, as in other eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and does not occur entirely during the course of anorexia nervosa.
Warning Signs & Symptoms to Look Out For To Identify Binge Eating Disorder on Time
Emotional and behavioural
- Showing great concern for body weight and shape
- Interruption of the normal eating behaviours, as well as eating right through the day with apparently no planned mealtimes; sometimes skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals; intermittently going through phases of sporadic fasting or repetitive dieting
- Frequent diets
- Fear of eating in public or with others
- Feeling uncomfortable while eating around others
- Withdrawing from daily activities & isolating oneself from friends
- Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten
- Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating
- Feelings of low self-esteem
- Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
- Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food.
- Any new practice with food or fad diets, including cutting out entire food groups (no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, vegetarianism/veganism)
- Developing food rituals (e.g., eating only a particular food or food group, condiments, excessive chewing, and not allowing foods to be touched.
- Creates lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge sessions
- Has secret recurring episodes of binge eating (eating in a discrete period of time an amount of food that is much larger than most individuals would eat under similar circumstances); feels helpless to not to be able to stop eating
- Stealing or hoarding food in strange places
- Evident fluctuations in weight, both up and down
- Concentration difficulties
- Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF BINGE EATING
The health risk of BED can be easily linked with clinical obesity, weight stigma, and weight cycling (aka, yo-yo dieting).
Even though, BED can be diagnosed at any weight. Most people labeled as clinically obese do not have binge eating disorder. On the other hand, of individuals with BED, up to two-thirds are labeled clinically obese; people who struggle with binge eating disorder often are of normal or higher-than-average weight.