Binge eating disorder is a type of eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive eating, feelings of loss of control during eating, guilt, shame and distress after binging, rapid weight fluctuations, eating when not physically hungry, and avoiding social situations related to food.
What is Binge-eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder is a type of eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive eating or binging. During these episodes, individuals may feel a loss of control over their eating and eat large amounts of food in a short period of time. Binge eating disorder is different from bulimia nervosa, which involves binging followed by purging behaviors such as vomiting or using laxatives.
People with binge eating disorder often eat alone because they feel embarrassed or ashamed of the amount of food they are consuming. They may feel guilt, shame, and distress after binging episodes, and often go to great lengths to hide their binge eating from others. Binge eating disorder is associated with a range of physical and psychological health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and low self-esteem.
What are the signs and symptoms of Binge-eating disorder?
The symptoms of binge eating disorder include:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating: consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time, usually within 2 hours, and feeling a loss of control over the eating.
- Eating alone because of shame or embarrassment: People with binge eating disorder often eat in secret and feel ashamed or embarrassed about the amount of food they are consuming.
- Feeling guilty, ashamed or distressed after binging: People with binge eating disorder often experience negative emotions after binging episodes.
- Rapid weight fluctuations: People with binge eating disorder may gain weight quickly, followed by weight loss through restrictive eating or purging behaviors.
- Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry: People with binge eating disorder may eat regardless of their hunger level.
- Eating to the point of discomfort: People with binge eating disorder may eat until they are uncomfortably full or experience physical discomfort.
- Avoiding social situations related to food: People with binge eating disorder may avoid social situations, such as dinner parties, because they fear they won't be able to control their eating.
If you suspect you or someone you know has binge eating disorder, it's important to seek professional help from a mental health provider or eating disorder specialist.
What are treatment options for Binge-eating disorder?
The best treatments for binge eating disorder typically involve a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. The following are some of the most effective treatments for binge eating disorder:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors related to binge eating.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): IPT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on resolving interpersonal conflicts and improving communication skills.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of psychotherapy that combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness and emotion regulation skills.
- Antidepressant medications: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used to treat binge eating disorder, as they can help reduce binge eating and improve mood. Please consult a physician before seeking or using medication.
How can a dietitian help?
A dietitian can play an important role in the treatment of binge eating disorder by helping individuals develop healthy eating habits and a positive relationship with food. A dietitian can provide nutrition education, guidance on meal planning, and support for making healthier food choices. They can also work with individuals to address any underlying disordered eating behaviors and help them develop a more balanced approach to eating. In addition, a dietitian can provide support for weight management, if necessary, and help individuals understand the importance of nourishing their bodies with adequate amounts of essential nutrients.
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