Binge Eating Facts – Facts, Symptoms, Causes
Binge Eating Disorder – Facts, Symptoms, Causes
About one in five young women report that they have had binge-eating symptoms, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Men account for about 40% of binge-eating disorder symptoms.
Binge-eating disorder, as the name implies, is characterized by uncontrollable, excessive eating, followed by feelings of shame and guilt. Unlike those with bulimia, those with binge-eating disorder symptoms typically do not purge their food. However, many who have bulimia also have binge-eating disorder.
Binge-eaters may use food to fill an emotional void by overeating to cope with life’s challenges and with their emotional insecurities. In reality, their overeating causes guilt, shame and disgust. Frequently, they are overweight and typically suffer from low self esteem.
The Medical Impact of Binge-Eating
Individuals with binge-eating disorder symptoms are often obese or overweight and are susceptible to health problems caused by being overweight, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Those with binge-eating disorder symptoms who are obese increase their risk of heart diseases, many types of cancer and gallbladder disease. Like those with other eating disorders, people with binge-eating disorder symptoms often have other psychiatric illnesses and are especially susceptible to depression.
Signs of Binge-Eating Disorder
Those with binge-eating disorder symptoms typically are overweight or obese. They feel like they have no control over their behavior, and eat in secret and when they are not hungry. They also feel shame and remorse over their behavior. They may hide food. Excessive amounts of food containers and wrappers are also evidence of binging.
Other binge-eating signs include:
- Eating in secret
- “Grazing” continuously without feeling satiated
- Eating when stressed or when feeling uncertain how to cope
- Feeling unable to control how much you eat
- Experimenting with different diets
Causes of Binge-Eating Disorder
While more research is needed before we understand the causes of binge-eating and other eating disorders, we now know that several factors can lead to binge-eating disorder. While there is no single root cause, we believe that people with binge-eating disorder symptoms have a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects their behavior.
Genetics are also a major factor, as are cultural ideals about body image. A traumatic event, which may have taken place years before binge-eating disorder symptoms manifests itself, may also have an impact. Such events may include sexual abuse or rape, emotional abuse, parents’ divorce, death of a loved one or a history of being teased or ridiculed.
Binge-eating disorder symptoms often starts with a diet, which may be meant to help the person regain self-esteem and control.
Helping Someone With Binge-Eating Disorder
If you suspect you or someone you know has binge-eating disorder symptoms, do something about it. Seek professional counseling immediately.
For help, contact Walden Behavioral Care at 781-647-6727 or online.