Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating. During a seizure, large quantities of food are eaten. Patients often experience loss of control (the feeling that they are no longer able to stop eating or have no control over what amounts are consumed). The binge attacks typically take place with the exclusion of witnesses.

Binge Eating Disorder

It is usually eaten quickly, without feeling hungry and indiscriminate, and consumes in a short time a far greater amount of food than healthy people would eat under similar conditions. Subsequently, guilt and shame as well as depressed moods often occur. Binge eating differs from bulimia by the absence of the latter's typical compensatory behavior (eg, self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives and / or dehydrators) after the binge.

About two percent of the population is affected by binge eating. Most people with this eating disorder are overweight. Binge eating can also occur in normal weight people. About twenty to forty percent of moderately to severely obese individuals seeking obesity for overweight have binge eating disorders.

Binge eating is somewhat more common in women than in men (approximately 3: 2 ratio). Obese people with a binge eating disorder are often more likely to be overweight ("childhood") than "normal" obese people. In addition, they usually go through more phases of weight gain and weight loss (yo-yo effect).

Binge Eating: Causes

The causes of binge eating are still unclear. About half of those affected suffered from depression at some point in their lives. However, it is unclear if depression is the cause or consequence of the eating disorder. There also does not necessarily have to be a connection. Many sufferers report that feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger, boredom or other negative sensations trigger a binge.

The effect of dieting on the development of a binge eating disorder is also unclear. Several studies suggest that repeated strict diets (rigid control) can trigger binge eating. However, about half of sufferers already suffer from binge eating before starting on dieting.

Binge Eating: symptoms and signs

Many people sometimes overeat themselves, and many have the impression that they have consumed more than they should. However, eating large amounts of food alone does not mean that someone is suffering from a binge eating disorder. The following signs are related to binge eating disorder:

  • Periodic episodes of binge eating that consume a far greater amount of food in a short time than other people would eat under similar conditions.
  • During binge eating, there is often a sense of loss of control (unable to control what or how much is eaten).
  • Several of the following behaviors or feelings: Eat significantly faster than usual. Eating up to an unpleasant feeling of fullness. Ingestion of large amounts of food, although there is no physiological hunger. Alone food, out of shame about the quantities taken. After the excessive eating, disgust for oneself, depression and / or feelings of guilt.

Binge eating also occurs in bulimia. Unlike people who suffer from binge eating, bulimics show purging behavior, fasting or exercising too much. These behaviors are "countermeasures" to increase calorie intake and are designed to counteract weight gain. Such countermeasures are missing in binge eating.

Binge eating: consequences and complications

The main physical complications are sequelae of obesity: diabetes mellitus type II, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and dyslipidemia. Binge eating can also cause emotional complications. Affected are very burdened by the disease. Many have already tried independently to reduce the bingeing, which has often succeeded only in the short term.

The burden and suffering of the eating disorder can result in people being unable to fulfill their job or social obligations. Overweight people with binge eating disorders often feel bad because of their eating habits, are overly concerned with their weight and figure and avoid social contacts. This retreat can lead to isolation. Most of them are ashamed and try to hide their disturbance from other people.

Binge Eating: Therapy and Treatment

People with binge eating disorder who are not or only moderately overweight should avoid weight loss diets as strict dieting can further increase the eating disorder. Many, however, are clearly overweight and suffer from physical sequelae. Weight loss and weight control are important treatment goals for these people. For most people, regardless of whether they want to lose weight or not, a specific treatment for their eating disorder is recommended. A possible weight loss can be done after the treatment of the eating disorder.

Several studies have shown that it is more difficult for people with binge eating to stay in a weight-loss program than for overweight people without this eating disorder. They also tend to rebuild faster if binge eating is not first treated. Therefore, the eating disorder should be specifically treated before attempting to lose weight.

Different approaches to treatment

There are different approaches to treatment. Previous research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy can reduce binge eating. In a cognitive-behavioral treatment, sufferers learn techniques and strategies for observing and changing their eating habits, and learn how to respond to difficult situations (as an alternative to a binge).

Interpersonal therapy focuses on current interpersonal relationships without specifically addressing eating behavior. Drug treatment with antidepressants may also be helpful and cause a decrease in binge eating. Medicines are less effective when used alone than the psychotherapeutic approaches. They should only be used in combination.

Preventive measures

Avoiding rigid diets: The supply of diets is constantly increasing. Many seem to be quite logical; It is understandable that overweight persons are willing to make appropriate diets. Many of the starvation diets do not work in the longer term. Their weakness is that they do not take into account the set-point, emotional responses to diets, individual differences in normal weight, and the irrationality of the slimming ideal.

Rigid diets that cause relatively high weight loss in a short period of time based on an unbalanced diet pose a health risk. Binge eating can be a direct result of hunger. The more attempts are made to limit food intake, the stronger the tendency to binge eating. Often the mistake begins to omit a meal (in the sense of reparation) after a binge. This automatically preprogrammes the next loss of control. Compare this to flexible control of eating behavior.

People with binge eating disorder who are not or only moderately overweight should avoid dieting because keeping a strict diet can still exacerbate the eating disorder. Many people with binge eating disorder are also clearly overweight and suffer from its physical consequences. For them, weight loss and subsequent stabilization is sometimes an important treatment goal. The weight reduction can be followed by the specific treatment of the eating disorder.

Recognizing Overweight: The set-point theory describes that all people have a normal weight. This is determined by a combination of genetic and nutritional factors. The set-point weight is maintained by the interaction of a variety of biological factors. These factors make it possible for the individual to feel comfortable and functioning only within a limited weight range.

There is much evidence in the literature that being overweight is not the result of a lack of willpower, but is genetically predetermined for some. This does not mean that the overweight is unchangeable as such: Due to changes in eating and eating habits and lifestyle, a reduction in weight is possible. The scope within which this is possible appears limited.

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