Binge eating disorder involves periods of excessive overeating. However, unlike in other eating disorders, such as bulimia, the person does not usually make themselves vomit after eating.
The condition can occur on its own or alongside other disorders or diseases.
Binge eating can encourage the development of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Fast facts on binge eating
Binge eating disorder differs from bulimia, as there is no purge after the binge.
People with the condition feel they have no control over their eating.
Depression and other psychological factors can trigger the condition.
One bingeing session can consist of up to 20,000 calories.
Obesity is a possible complication.
Binge eating is a compulsion that has serious psychological and physical effects.
When people have a binge eating disorder, also referred to as compulsive eating, they frequently eat very large amounts of food.
This compulsion is known as a binge.
In some cases, 10,000 to 20,000 calories of food may be consumed in one bout of bingeing. The average person consumes between 1,500 to 3,000 calories per day.
However, there are varying definitions for a binge. It may typically last a couple of hours. Some experts, however, say a binge may last up to a whole day.
In many cases of binge eating disorder, there are no clear signs or symptoms.
Weight gain is the main sign of binge eating disorder. A significant proportion of people with the disorder are overweight.
The following signs and symptoms of obesity, as well as potential consequences, may include:
A person with binge eating disorder may also:
experience stomach pain
find high or low temperatures difficult to bear
have more frequent headaches
Psychological characteristics include:
a cycle of guilt, starting with despair at being trapped in a binge, followed by guilt then an attempt at self-discipline before bingeing again
self-blame, which further damages self-esteem
The following psychological problems may be underlying or may occur as a consequence of binge eating:
lack of focus
A person with a binge eating disorder may typically:
have periods when huge amounts of food are consumed
eat even when full
eat rapidly during a bout of bingeing
feel that the eating behavior is uncontrollable
diet frequently without any success
often eat alone
hide empty food containers
feel remorse, shame, guilt, disgust, despair about their eating.
When to see a doctor
As binge eating is behavioral, it can often be the case that a person will not recognize that the habit has become a medical issue until their body weight increases to a level that will impact health.
It is therefore very important to see a doctor as soon as you feel that it has become a compulsion or addiction to eating excessive amounts of food.
The issue can cause feelings of embarrassment and isolation, but it is crucial to act on the advice of people close to you if they have identified destructive patterns in the way you consume food.
If you regularly experience related conditions, such as depression or anxiety, and find yourself binge eating, it is important to address these underlying causes with a physician.
What is binge eating disorder?
A person with a binge eating disorder feels compelled to eat too much. Individuals will consume enormous quantities of food, even when they are not hungry.