3 women showing support for one during while facing eating disorders.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States and a serious medical condition that has major health risks if left untreated.

3 women showing support for one during while facing eating disorders.

Anorexia Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

[Summary of Anorexia]

patients of registered dietitian nutritionists

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder that is characterized by frequent episodes of eating large quantities of food over short periods of time - to the point of feeling ill. Binge Eating Disorder affects an estimated 1-5% of the population, making it three times as prevalent as anorexia and bulimia combined. 

Binge Eating Disorder Signs and Symptoms 

Binge eating disorder is often associated with symptoms of depression. There are several signs that someone might be battling with BED, including insisting on eating alone, overeating when not hungry, or eating until uncomfortably full. 

Episodes of binge eating are usually followed by feelings of guilt or shame, and often lead to more serious health complications. Full list of symptoms: 

  • Consuming an unusually large amount of food in a relatively short time
  • Feeling out of control with food
  • Eating more quickly than usual
  • Consuming large quantities of food while not feeling hungry
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortable and overly full
  • Having feelings of sadness, guilt, or disgust after eating
  • Hiding or being secretive about eating behaviors
  • Feeling embarrassed about the amount of food consumed
  • Experiencing sadness with regard to body or weight
  • Feeling depressed, ashamed, guilty or disgusted about your eating

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is caused by a complex combination of genetic, psychological and cultural factors. Family history, long term dieting, and a disrupted relationship with food may increase the risk of binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder sufferers often struggle with co-occurring mood and anxiety disorders, have experienced some kind of trauma, or struggle to navigate developmental milestones and life changes. The larger cultural narrative around dieting, binge eating and obesity is a prominent factor influencing the development of binge eating disorder. This rhetoric fosters shame and embarrassment for individuals struggling with BED, many of whom are chronic dieters without weight loss success.

Binge Eating Disorder Health Risks

There are serious health risks associated with binge eating disorder (BED), including: Cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome as well as Sleep Disorders, GI Disorders, Pain Disorders, Menstrual Dysfunction and Pregnancy Complications. That’s why it’s important to recognize that BED is a mental health illness, not a matter of trying to exercise more self-control.

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

The specialized binge eating disorder treatment team at Nourish will work with you to understand biological, psychological and social contributors to your illness.

First and foremost, intervention at a behavioral level is imperative to stop disordered eating. Secondly, your treatment team will seek to understand the psychological issues that contribute to your disordered eating behavior.

In addition to the psychological contributors to the illness, it is important to identify any co-occurring illnesses you may have, such as depression, anxiety, trauma or substance abuse. At Nourish, we believe in treating the illness, not just the resulting weight gain. By focusing first on remedying the disordered eating, we work with our patients to find solutions to the underlying issues first and the weight second.

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