Jan
07
2011

What Causes Binge Eating Disorder

How do I know if I have binge eating disorder?
Most of us overeat from time to time, and some of us often feel we have eaten more than we should have. Eating a lot of food does not necessarily mean that you have binge eating disorder. Experts generally agree that most people with serious binge eating problems often eat an unusually large amount of food and feel their eating is out of control. People with binge eating disorder also may:

1.    eat much more quickly than usual during binge episodes
2.    eat until they are uncomfortably full
3.    eat large amounts of food even when they are not really hungry
4.    eat alone because they are embarrassed about the amount of food they eat
5.    feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

Almost everyone overeats on occasion, having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal or devouring an entire bag of chips while watching a scary movie. Sometimes, though, overeating becomes a regular occurrence, shrouded in shame and secrecy. It’s called binge-eating disorder, a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food.

When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating.

How Is Binge Eating Different From Other Eating Disorders?
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating are all considered eating disorders because they involve unhealthy patterns of eating.
Both binge eating and bulimia involve eating excessive amounts of food, feeling out of control while eating, and feeling guilty or ashamed afterward.

What causes binge eating disorder?
No one knows for sure what causes binge eating disorder. As many as half of all people with binge eating disorder are depressed or have been depressed in the past. Whether depression causes binge eating disorder or whether binge eating disorder causes depression is not known.

Specific Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder:
Most people overeat from time to time, and many people feel they frequently eat more than they should. Eating large amounts of food, however, does not mean that a person has binge eating disorder. Doctors are still debating the best ways to determine if someone has binge eating disorder. But most people with serious binge eating problems have:

Several of these behaviors or feelings:
1.    Eating much more rapidly than usual.
2.    Eating until uncomfortably full.
3.    Eating large amounts of food, even when not physically hungry.
4.    Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten.
5.    Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating.

Treatment for binge eating disorder includes counseling and sometimes medicine.

Goals in treating binge eating often include:
·    Reducing your number of eating binges.
·    Developing healthy eating and exercise habits.
·    Dealing with shame or guilt about your eating disorder.
·    Developing a healthy view of yourself and your body.
·    Getting treatment for other conditions that you also might have, such as depression, anxiety, or health problems related to being overweight.

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