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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Eating Disorders >>  Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating is often trivialized by being compared to eating excessively large meals occasionally. In fact, binge eating is a very serious disorder in which a person consumes unusually large amounts of food on a regular basis.  In some ways, the consumption of food becomes the primary objective of the person. He or she may begin to find emotional comfort from consuming food and may not even stop when he/she is full and finds it uncomfortable to eat any more. People who indulge in binge eating are usually obese because they consume more calories than their body can utilize, on a regular basis.

There are many other emotional aspects to binge eating as well.

There are people who do not like to gain weight; however, they find the comfort of food too overwhelming to give up. They may even feel powerless to stop themselves from eating. This causes an emotional upheaval and that is perhaps why this disorder is also often referred to as compulsive overeating.

There are no specific triggers for binge eating behavior. However, people suffering from binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating may begin to gorge on food if they are stressed, upset, angry, hurt, or excited. Eating soothes them for some time, after which they inevitably feel remorse and begin to feel guilty about their inability to stop eating. This is often a way to deal with difficult emotions which cannot be controlled downright.

There are certain eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa that are also similar to binge eating disorder. Though not all of them may involve compulsive eating, they are similar because patterns of unhealthy eating are formed in all of these disorders. People suffering from bulimia do not visibly become overweight because they vomit whatever they eat. However, those with anorexia may appear to be extremely underweight.

Binge eating disorder causes are not very clear. However, most experts believe that there is a combination of factors that may include the genetic build-up of a person and behaviors and emotions that can be learned during their childhood and through their adulthood. These behaviors often manifest themselves in a way which may not be completely healthy.

There are some people who may be biologically more prone to compulsive overeating. This is because the hypothalamus, an organ in the brain which should ideally send messages throughout the body about hunger and fullness, is unable to process messages correctly and send them through. There is a brain chemical called serotonin which can affect the moods of a person. This can also cause an increase in the compulsive behavior of a person.

In most of the cases, binge eating start during childhood and usually results from overeating habits which have been observed in the family. Culturally, food is associated with nurturing and love. If a family over uses food for comforting and soothing each other, it can result in the child becoming emotionally dependent on food.

Binge eating disorder symptoms are easy to recognize. A binge eater overeats more than two times a week, for a period of more than six months. The person also eats rapidly, much likely not paying attention to the food itself. The person may eat until they are uncontrollably full and experience some kind of discomfort in eating. The person may end up eating large amounts of food even when they are not hungry and may often eat alone because they are embarrassed of being discovered eating. Binge eaters also gain weight very readily and excessively.

Binge eating disorder treatment is largely based on psychotherapy and behavior therapy. Getting professional binge eating disorder help is very important in this case since there could be chemical imbalances in the brain which cause such behavior. Nutritional specialists can also help in this respect, providing insights into the kind of food that should be consumed and lay down portion sizes and menus.

Binge eating is found to be an abnormal pattern in a person’s eating where in a person will eat a large quantity of food that is more than the normal quantity that people eat. The binge eating time frame can be anywhere from one to two hours. It can even exceed these hours. There are mainly two kinds of eating disorders. These are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. These are both found to be psychiatric disorders.

How does one differentiate between sufferings from this disorder of binge eating and simple over eating? A specialist of an eating disorder will define this disorder of binger eating as something that occurs twice a week to thrice a week for about 3 months. It is also defined as a disorder which has a deteriorating effect on the person’s daily life and their relationships. Some of the key behavior patterns that are exhibited by these binge eaters include the fact that they eat inordinately large quantities of food at a single sitting. They can at times consume anywhere between 3000 to about 10000 calories in a few hours. They tend to gobble down their food really fast thus ending up eating even faster than they would eat under normal circumstances. During a particular binge session, the binge eater will get feeling of being out of control and will be unable to control their eating and will also be unable to stop in spite of wanting to stop. They may full and the feeling may even be painful, but they will be unable to restrain themselves. These binge eaters tend to be on diets most of the time and are yet unable to control or reduce weight. These people tend to eat by themselves and will hide the empty dishes or containers to prevent others from knowing that they have eaten that much. Post a binging session these people tend to feel guilty and embarrassed. They are often times disgusted with themselves and also feel very guilty. Binge eaters tend to hoard and also hide food.

It has been found through various studies that have been conducted that some of these eaters may be predisposed genetically towards this condition. Some people tend to binge eat due to stress reasons. If a person is suffering from a lot of stress then it can cause them to eat a lot to find some relief from their feelings. At times it can be job related stress or even family or relationship problems that can cause this stress.

Submitted on January 16, 2014