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Binge Eating Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Signs & Treatment Help

What is Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is commonly known by compulsive overeating, or consuming abnormal amounts of food while feeling unable to stop and at loss of control. Binge eating episodes are typically classified as occurring on average a minimum of twice per week for a duration of six months. BED was first explained in 1959 by Albert Stunkard, a psychiatrist and researcher, as Night Eating Syndrome (NES). The term Binge Eating Disorder was created to define similar binge eating behavior without the nocturnal aspect.

Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) founder, Chevese Turner, discusses facts and research about binge eating disorder. As posted by: Mental Fitness, Inc.

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  • Though binge eating disorder can occur in men and women of normal weight, it often leads to the development of unwanted weight gain or obesity, which can indirectly reinforce further compulsive eating. Men and women suffering with binge eating disorder struggle with emotions of disgust and guilt and often have a related co-morbidity, such as depression or anxiety. The negative feelings that usually accompany binge eating often lead him or her to continue to use food to cope; thus creating a vicious cycle. Managed eating disorder treatments are extremely important.

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    Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

    While the exact cause of binge eating disorder is unknown, there are a variety of factors that are thought to influence the development of this disorder. These factors are:

    • Biological: Biological abnormalities, such as hormonal irregularities or genetic mutations, may be associated with compulsive eating and food addiction.
    • Psychological: A strong correlation has been established between depression and binge eating. Body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and difficulty coping with feelings can also contribute to binge eating disorder.
    • Social and Cultural: Traumatic situations, such as a history of sexual abuse, can increase the risk of binge eating. Social pressures to be thin, which are typically influenced through media, can trigger emotional eating. Persons subject to critical comments about their bodies or weight may be especially vulnerable to binge eating disorder.

    Signs & Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

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    As individuals suffering with binge eating disorder experience embarrassment or shame about their eating habits, symptoms may often be hidden. The following are some behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder:

    • Continually eating even when full
    • Inability to stop eating or control what is eaten
    • Stockpiling food to consume secretly at a later time
    • Eating normally in the presence of others but gorging when isolated
    • Experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety that can only be relieved by eating
    • Feelings of numbness or lack of sensation while bingeing
    • Never experiencing satiation: the state of being satisfied, no matter the amount of food consumed

    The consequences of binge eating disorder involve many physical, social, and emotional difficulties. Some of these complications are:

    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Insomnia or sleep apnea
    • Hypertension
    • Gallbladder disease
    • Muscle and/or joint pain
    • Gastrointestinal difficulties
    • Depression and/or anxiety

    Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

    Cheerful Young ManProfessional support and treatment from health professionals specializing in the treatment of binge eating disorders, including psychiatrists, nutritionists, and therapists, can be the most effective way to address binge eating disorder. Such a treatment program would address the underlying issues associated with destructive eating habits, focusing on the central cause of the problem. It is necessary to concentrate on healing from the emotional triggers that may be causing binge eating, having proper guidance in establishing healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

    There are also three types of therapy that can be especially helpful in the treatment of binge eating disorder. These therapies are:

    In addition to these methods, group therapy sessions led by a trained eating disorder therapist, as well as eating disorder support groups, may also be effective methods of establishing recovery from binge-eating disorder.

    Articles on Binge Eating Disorder

    • Depression is commonly associated with eating disorders, and it is often co-occurring with Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Trying to address Binge Eating Disorder can become more difficult if clinical depression is a key component or trigger for the binge eating. This begs the question of “Did binge eating begin because of depression or did depression begin because of binge eating?”
    • Binge Eating Disorder is an eating disorder that masks itself as basic overeating. It can easily go undetected and it affects more men and women than Anorexia or Bulimia. But, do you have Binge Eating Disorder or are simply overeating like so many other people?
    • The perception is that eating disorders normally affect Caucasian women, but eating disorders are color blind and will affect African American women as well. However, there needs to be more research conducted on African American women as most research is directed toward white women.
    • Eating for comfort or emotional reasons is not necessarily a bad thing. That is as long as the food does not become the main source of comfort or method for dealing with life’s stress and challenges. Using food to consistently soothe emotional upheaval can quickly become Binge Eating Disorder, and this can result in some serious health consequences.
    • Commonly mistaken for occasional overeating or indulging, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a serious psychological issue associated with devastating emotional and physical consequences. Perhaps one of the most dangerous results of BED is weight gain, which can keep the vicious cycle of compulsive eating alive. If you or someone you love is struggling with this disorder, there are several factors you should consider to establish freedom from binge eating. Learn more about the important factors of binge eating disorder by reading this article.
    • While not as familiar as Anorexia or Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder is a severe illness that requires equal attention and professional treatment in order to establish recovery. An important approach in addressing BED is the implementation of the˜Non-Diet’ method. This approach essentially teaches sufferers to respond to physical hunger as well as how to regulate feelings associated with food and eating. Use of this method along with other proven therapies can help in healing from BED. Read this article to learn more about the Non Diet Approach for binge eating disorder.
    • Binge eating is not only a concern for adults. Many children and adolescents have secret memories of have engages in binge eating. These patterns are occurring ever more frequently in today’s image-focused, diet-obsessed world. Read two stories about young adolescents who engaged in binge eating disorder behavior.
    • The diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder has been added to the new DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual) as it’s own separate diagnosis.  This disease of BED, that troubles so many, is now more likely to be treated with the care and respect that binge eating disorder sufferers deserve.  Learn about BED and the DSM-V in this article.
    • With anorexia having the highest mortality rate among any other psychiatric illness, the focus and attention given towards prevention and treatment is absolutely essential. However, sometimes overshadowed is the equally devastating Binge Eating Disorder, also classified as a major eating disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in May of 2013. Learn more about the devastating effects of BED while at college here.
    • Naturopathic medicine is a branch of medical care which many people are not familiar with, yet when they either hear about it or experience working with a naturopath, they often find it to be the missing link in our healthcare system today. Naturopathic physicians believe in a holistic approach to care, using natural treatments whenever possible to focus on treating both the cause and the totality of disease.
    • Since Binge Eating Disorder (BED) was first mentioned in the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1987, research on BED has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. In fact, in 2013, BED was added to the latest, fifth edition, of the DSM as its own diagnosis.
    • The evidence suggests that you don’t. You are likely to eat more when you first quit smoking, but that increased eating is healthy. It might feel like you are binge eating at first because you are eating more than you did when you smoked, but this isn’t necessarily binge eating.
    • Given that overeating from time to time is normal behavior and binge eating is not, it can be hard to understand the difference. I hope to illustrate the differences and to dispel the myth that people with Binge Eating disorder “just need more self-control” or “just does not care about themselves enough”.
    • A very important development in BED is the fact that it is now listed as an official eating disorder diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which will increase awareness and help make it easier for patients to get treatment.
    • When I work with someone struggling with compulsive overeating issues, not only will I be attentive to the details they express to me about the nature of these “binge” episodes, but also to the thoughts and feelings that may be at the root of this difficulty with food and emotions.
    • Binge Eating Disorder is the most common of all the eating disorders but incongruently, with the least treatment options for the sufferers. Until recently, Binge Eating Disorder was not even recognized as an actual disorder and could not be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) published by The American Psychiatric Association.
    • Studies have shown that patients who have experienced a trauma related event have been more likely to engage in self destructive behavior. One form of self harm is binge eating, which has been proven to be linked with traumatic events.
    • Binge eating disorder (BED) and anxiety are deeply intertwined and often co-occur. In fact, approximately 37% of those who are diagnosed with BED are also diagnosed with a full-fledged anxiety disorder. Rather than a linear relationship model (i.e., that anxiety leads to binge eating behaviors or binge eating behaviors lead to anxiety), binge eating disorder and anxiety are much more transactional and are comprised of biological, psychological, and social factors.
    • Perhaps the most significant improvement with the DSM-5 is that Binge Eating Disorder (BED) has been moved from the obscurity of an appendix in the DSM-IV to being designated in the DSM-5 as a full-fledged diagnosis that parallels the other main eating disorders of Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN).
    • Overweight binge eaters represent a collision of two traditional treatment worlds: eating disorders and weight control. 30-40% of those seeking weight loss treatment meet the criteria for BED. In a residential weight control treatment setting this link between overweight/obesity and binge eating is striking. Our mean BMI is 43.3 and data suggests that 43.7 % of our participants have BED. A host of co-morbidities result from this combination of eating pathology and obesity.
    • Interview with Carolyn Costin: “I had been recovered from anorexia nervosa for a while and my friends knew this so when a young girl with anorexia needed help people sought me out. When I saw this person it was like I knew the inside of her mind. She felt understood and she got better. Then I got another referral and she got better too. Soon people all around my town and the surrounding cities started referring to me. It was only then, that I knew I had to do this work.”
    • You feel depressed because you have eaten too much or you eat too much because you feel depressed. For binge eaters, this vicious cycle is relentless leaving feelings of guilt and shame in addition to other negative emotions commonly associated with depression.
    • For those struggling with binge eating disorder their exercise patterns tend to mirror their eating patterns – falling prey to an all-or-nothing tendency. With food, this involves a restriction/binge cycle and for exercise, this all-or-nothing tendency usually shows up as a cycle of no pain/no gain exercise and then being sedentary.
     
     
    Page Last Updated and Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on
    April 18, 2014
    Published on EatingDisorderHope.com, Information for Eating Disorder Help

     

     

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    Michael Noffsinger May 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Hello,

    I really loved your website. I am a registered addiction specialist who has an extensive battle with Eating disorders!.

    Best Wishes,

    Michael Noffsinger

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