Binge Eating Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

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Published on: 02-Apr-2024

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Lalita Vishwakarma

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Binge Eating Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

Binge Eating Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

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Hello, readers! We all enjoy eating, but is it appropriate to eat for extended periods or the entire day? You might have observed people sitting and eating or munching one thing after the other no matter whether they are hungry or not. The habit of continuously overeating is scientifically called a “Binge Eating Disorder.”   

It can happen to anyone, irrespective of gender or age. Still, according to one study, women are more prone to eating disorders than men. Unhealthy eating habits can be severe and impact your overall health and body functions.  

There are various types of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa (eating very little) and bulimia nervosa (eating a lot and vomiting). Binge eating disorder can trigger severe health conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, kidney disorder and cardiovascular disorder. 

Therefore, it is important to know everything about it. Here, in this blog, we will highlight signs and causes and discuss the prevention and treatment options for binge eating disorder. 


Key Highlights  

  • It is also called emotional eating or compulsive overeating. 

  • It is more common in women than men and usually occurs around the age of 23 years. 

  • It includes episodes of excessive food consumption over short periods. 

  • It can lead to complexities like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gallstones, fatty liver disease, kidney disease and osteoarthritis. 


Table of Contents  

  1. What Is The Meaning Of Binge Eating?   

  1. What Are The Reasons For Binge Eating Disorder? 

  1. Signs Of Binge Eating Disorder   

  1. How To Stop Binge Eating Disorder? 

  1. How Is Binge Eating Disorder Treated? 

  1. Dietitian’s Recommendation 

  1. The Final Say 

  1. FAQs  

  1. References 

What Is The Meaning Of Binge Eating  

The most prevalent eating disorder impacting millions of people worldwide is binge eating disorder. In this disorder, people eat a lot of food in a single sitting. They don't even realise what they eat and how much they feed their bodies. Due to this, they often experience feelings of guilt or shame. 

This disorder is more common in women than men and usually makes its first impact at the age of 23. According to studies, binge eating disorder is generally a result of a psychiatric disorder or combination of disorders. Sometimes, individuals experiencing depression, stress or anxiety may fall for bingeing too much. 

This habit of uncontrolled eating, especially unhealthy food, usually triggers other medical conditions like obesity, cardiovascular disorder, kidney stones, and bone and joint pain. Therefore, it is essential to look for prevention and treatment options; otherwise, it can complicate your everyday life. 


What Are The Reasons For Binge Eating Disorder? 

Researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes binge eating disorders and other eating disorders. Researchers have found that eating disorders can be caused by a complex combination of genetic, biological, behavioural, psychological and social factors. This combination includes the presence of specific genes, the individual’s biology, body image and self-esteem, social experiences, family health history, and sometimes other mental illnesses.   

According to research, overeating may be a coping mechanism used by those suffering from binge eating disorder when they are stressed, upset, bored, or anxious. Researchers are studying how changes in levels of brain chemicals can affect eating habits. Neuroimaging, or brain imaging, may help us better understand binge eating disorders.  


Signs Of Binge Eating Disorder   

The primary signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder include:   

  • You find yourself eating until you feel uncomfortable but not satisfied. 

  • Eating quickly without realising how much you've consumed. 

  • Eating when you're not hungry or have recently eaten. 

  • Other signs include using food to cope with emotional stress. 

  • Eating alone and avoiding eating with others, scheduling your day around binge-eating sessions, and hiding your food intake from others.  

  • Frequent dieting can also cause weight fluctuations, which can lead to feelings of guilt, regret, shame, and low self-esteem.   

Many people may occasionally experience signs or symptoms of binge eating. If these symptoms begin to occur regularly (more than once a week), it can be disconcerting. Environmental conditions like stress and relationships can affect behaviour and mental health.  


How To Stop Binge Eating Disorder? 


Here are some things you can do to develop a healthier relationship with food:   

1. Plan Regular Meals And Snacks   

It is important to plan your regular meals and snacks to distract yourself from uncontrolled eating. A regular eating pattern includes 3 full meals and 2-3 snacks per dayTry not to let more than 3 to 4 hours pass between meals. Consistently fueling your body with food can help reduce the urge to overeat due to intense hunger. 

2. Find Your Trigger   

As you progress in returning to regular eating habits, it's essential to identify the cause of your binge eating episodes. Understanding what triggers you to overeat can be very beneficial in managing your triggers. One way to do this is to keep a journal and record how you feel before and after each meal or snack. Take note of times when you overeat or eat without feeling hungry. 

3. Look For Alternatives That Cause The Situation   

Brandenburg suggests that identifying the factors that may trigger your binge-eating habits can help you manage such situations effectively. For instance, if overeating while watching late-night TV is one of your unhealthy habits, making plans could help you succeed more often. 

You could engage in a different activity, such as walking or gardening instead of watching TV, or multitask by watching TV while doing something that distracts you from thinking about food, like walking on a treadmill or knitting.   

4. Take Expert’s Help 

There are various methods to improve your relationship with food. The most effective initial step is to consult with an eating disorder specialist who can assist you in addressing this issue from multiple perspectives.   

5. Make Self-Care A Priority 

Focusing on your well-being is essential to preventing binge eating disorder. Self-care goes beyond maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet. It also involves how you talk and think about yourself and your body. It's crucial to be kind to yourself. You should know that your life does not have to revolve around food and weight 

6. Find The Treatment That’s Right For You 

Multiple treatments are available to help individuals with eating disorders. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is intended to assist in establishing a regular diet, finding alternatives to overeating, and altering how one thinks about one's body, weight, and shape. Interpersonal psychotherapy and dialectical behaviour therapy are additional treatments for binge eating disorders. Evidence supports all these treatments for BED. Dietary supplements and medications for other conditions may also be beneficial in treatment.   


How Is Binge Eating Disorder Treated? 

The aim of treating binge eating disorder is to encourage healthy and regular eating habits. Since overeating often leads to negative emotions such as shame and poor body image, it is important to address associated mental illnesses like depression. Seeking help to prevent overeating can assist individuals in learning better control over their eating habits. 

Category 

Description 

Example 

Talk Therapy 

Psychotherapy helps develop healthy habits and reduces overeating. Offered in individual or group settings. 

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) 

  • ICAT (Integrated Cognitive Affective Therapy) 

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy 

Medications 

Medications can help manage symptoms but aren't a primary treatment. 

  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) - Used for adults with moderate to severe BED. 

  • Seizure medications & some antidepressants (consult a doctor) 

Lifestyle Changes 

Self-care steps to support recovery alongside professional help. 

  • Continue treatment & meal plan adherence. 

  • Avoid restrictive diets. 

  • Eat regularly (every 2-3 hours). 

  • Plan for trigger situations. 

  • Get necessary nutrients (consult a doctor). 

  • Stay connected with supportive people. 

 

Dietitian’s Recommendation  

Binge eating can really affect your health and overall lifestyle, but don't worry—it's not impossible to recover from it. As a dietitian, my advice would be to seek help from a professional and focus on making lifestyle changes to help you overcome this condition holistically 

Remember that recovery is a journey that takes time, effort, and support. Everyone's journey may be different. Still, if you struggle with overeating, it's essential to understand the potential causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment options available to you to start your path towards a healthier relationship with food. 

Dt. Lavina Chauhan 

The Final Say 

Binge eating disorder is a severe condition that affects many people and can have negative consequences on their physical and mental health. Individuals with this disorder often feel guilty and ashamed due to their uncontrollable eating habits.  

Left untreated, it can impact overall health, self-esteem, and weight. Seeking help and support from medical professionals can help manage the condition. To prevent this disorder, follow the measures mentioned in the blog. For more information regarding health conditions, visit ToneOp! 


FAQs  

1. Can a binge eating disorder cause other health complications?  

That’s right. Numerous health issues, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and digestive system issues, can be brought on by binge eating.  

2. Are there any specific foods that can help prevent binge eating episodes?  

Eating a balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods can help reduce the risk of overeating. Foods high in fibre and protein can also increase satiety and reduce the urge to overeat.   

3. How long does it take to overcome binge eating?  

The time it takes to recover from a binge eating disorder may vary from person to person. It depends on how severe the condition is, whether the person has other mental health problems, and how well the treatment plan works. Recovery can take months or years and requires ongoing effort and support.  

4. What are the reasons for binge eating disorder?  
The significant causes of binge eating disorder are: 

  • Genetics 

  • Psychological causes 

  • Dieting 

  • Family history 

  • Stress 

  • Heart Disease 

  • Mental disorder 

  • Biological factors 

  • Body image 

5. How are depression and binge eating disorders connected? 
Well, depression and binge eating disorder are interconnected as individuals dealing with binge eating disorder usually eat lots of food to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Also, these people are at very high risk of mood disorders. 

6. Is there a cure for binge eating disorder? 

Binge eating disorder cure includes the following: 

  • Talk therapy   

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) 

  • Dialectical behaviour therapy 

  • Medications  

  • Lifestyle change 

7. Is binge eating disorder hereditary? 

Yes, it can, as genetic disorders or pre-psychiatric conditions are some of the reasons behind BED. 

References   

About ToneOp  

ToneOp is a platform dedicated to improving and maintaining good health through a comprehensive range of goal-oriented health plans with up to 3 Coach support. With a range of Weight Management, Medical Condition, Detox Plans, and Face Yoga Plans, the app also provides premium health trackers, recipes and health content. Get customised diet, fitness, naturopathy & yoga plans and transform yourself with ToneOp 

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