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Binge Eating Disorder: Symptoms and Treatments

07 October, 2020 Ankita Singh

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder in which a person eats a large quantity of food in a short time even if they are not feeling hungry. It is now considered as a psychological disorder. Most of the people suffering from BED are also dealing with some other form of psychiatric disorder. For those people, certain emotions may trigger an episode of binge eating. They often use binge eating to cope with their emotions.

It affects 2% of the total world population. Like other eating disorders BED is also more common in women but, out of all the eating disorders BED is the most common eating disorder amongst men.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

People suffering from BED feel a sense of emotional relief during binge eating but might feel ashamed or loss of control afterward. BED is not easily diagnosed especially in the beginning.

The following are the symptoms of BED:

  • Eating very rapidly
  • Overeating often to a level of discomfort
  • Eating large quantities without being hungry
  • Eating alone and avoid eating in public due to embarrassment
  • Feeling guilty and disgusted with themselves.

A person needs to have at least 3 of the above symptoms to be diagnosed as a patient of BED. Apart from these symptoms, they are often extremely unhappy about their overeating habit, body shape, and weight.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

The exact cause of BED is not known yet but it is believed that a variety of factors are responsible for this eating disorder. Those factors are:

Genetics: Those with a family history of BED are at more risk to suffer from it. Those suffering from BED are also more sensitive to dopamine (a hormone responsible for the feelings of happiness and pleasure).

Gender: Women are at a higher risk of BED. There might be an underlying biological factor responsible for that.

Changes in part of the brain: People suffering from BED may have some changes in the structure of the brain resulting in more sensitivity towards food and less self-control.

Weight: Almost half of the people with BED are obese. Weight issues can be the cause and also the result of BED.

Body image: Those suffering from BED often have negative body image about themselves.

History of binge eating: People with BED often report about a history of binge eating episodes in the past (childhood or teenage).

Emotional trauma: Extremely emotional life events such as abuse, death of a loved one, separation from a loved one, childhood bullying can contribute to BED.

Psychological Condition: A majority of BED patients have some other form of a psychological condition such as depression, a phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, anxiety, or substance abuse. Order prescription medicine from the best online pharmacy store in Delhi.

Diagnosis of BED

BED can occur at any age but is most common in the late teen to early twenties. To be diagnosed by BED a person has to have at least one binge eating episode every week for three consecutive months. In severe cases, there can be more than fourteen episodes of binge eating per week.

Treatment of BED

Causes, the severity of the disorder, and the patient’s individual goal are considered while devising a treatment plan. The treatment can tackle several issues such as binge eating behavior, weight issues, negative body image, and mental health issues.

Treatment options for BED include:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): In  CBT the doctors try to identify the reason and pattern of BED and then develop a strategy to help the patient change the pattern. Therapist-led CBT is more effective than the self-help CBT. Therapist led CBT has a great success rate in both short and long term treatment.

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): In this form of treatment the doctor tries to identify the specific problem linked to the negative eating behavior, acknowledge it, and make positive changes. It can be combined with CBT. Apart from CBT, this treatment is also effective in the long and short term both.

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): It helps people in managing their emotional reactions so they can deal with the negative situations of day to day life without binge eating. It views BED as a response to emotions. Mindfulness, Distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness are the key areas of treatment in DBT.

Weight loss Therapy: Weight loss therapy intends to help the patient lose weight in a gradual controlled manner, reduce binge eating habits, and improve self-esteem. However, it is not as effective as CBT or IPT and can help for the short-term only. It is good for those patients who want to focus on losing weight in a healthy way.

Medications: Medicines such as topiramate (antiepileptic drug) and lisdexamfetamine (used for hyperactive disorders) are used to treat binge eating. Buy these medicines by just uploading your prescription from the best online chemist shop in Delhi, 3MEDS. These medicines are useful for short-term effects. For long-term results, behavioral therapies are known to show better results. If the person has other psychological disorders then medicines are needed to treat those disorders too.

In a nutshell

BED is an eating disorder that can have serious consequences on health if not treated. Treatments like CBT, IPT and DBT can help the patients. If you or a loved one has this disorder then taking medical help is the first step to be taken. Binge eating can otherwise have serious complications like obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc.