Is Binge Eating an Eating Disorder and What You Can Do to Help

Binge eating disorder, or BED, is defined as the repeated consumption of unusually large amounts of food in short periods and without any control over what or how much one eats during these episodes. If you or a loved one goes through periods of time where you eat an incredible amount of food without feeling like you are full or without caring about what food it is that is being eaten, BED may be in play. This disorder is difficult to recognize in friends and family members since it is likely that these binge sessions are typically done when eating alone. If you or someone you know is struggling with BED, read on for more information on how to help.

What is Binge Eating?

Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by regular episodes of uncontrollable eating. While many people engage in overeating to a degree, individuals with BED eat unusually large amounts of food during a short time. Typically, eating occurs even when you’re full or not hungry. Not only do you eat a lot of food, you typically eat rapidly and until you are uncomfortably full. These meals are usually associated with an emotional trigger or perceived stressor.

People that suffer from binge-eating disorder often have a distorted body image and view themselves as overweight or obese even though they may be underweight or at a normal weight. Additionally, these individuals often feel shame or embarrassment after overeating and try to compensate for it by fasting or exercising excessively without weight loss. Additionally, eating is frequently done alone or in secret.

The Dangers of Binge Eating

Unfortunately, binge eating can be very damaging. Someone with a binge eating disorder may be uncomfortable in certain situations due to their weight. If someone is struggling with weight loss, it might be a good idea to consult a dietitian or doctor who can help them determine whether they are suffering from an eating disorder such as binge eating. A family doctor or primary care physician may also be able to recommend an eating disorder treatment program for binge eating disorders, especially if the binge eating has led to serious health problems. Typically, with a treatment program, they talk to the person and learn more about the situation before prescribing a treatment program. That way, the program is customized to the person so the program can be as effective as possible.

What Causes Someone to Binge?

Binge eating episodes are typically triggered by something negative in someone’s life such as stress, excessive dieting, feeling negative about body weight, or body image. In addition to these triggers, access to food and time to actually binge eat is needed to complete a binge session. That being the case, binge eating may be a symptom of other mental concerns such as depression and distorted body image. Because of this, it’s ideal to work with a professional to get the causes understood so appropriate binge eating treatments can be administered.

Steps to Bounce Back After Binge Eating

There are a few things you can do to help with binge eating and how to get back on track for healthy eating. Keep in mind that support is an important part of the process and it is ideal to get help if you suffer from BED. That being said, here are a few ideas to help you get back to healthy eating habits.

In addition to forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to be ok with yourself, there are a few tasks you can do to help yourself. The first thing is to stay hydrated. Hydration is necessary for a healthy working body and it will help your system regulate so many things. Additionally, make sure that you get enough fiber and protein in your diet. Getting enough sleep and exercising are also key to helping you feel good and feel better. There are a few other things you can do like eating clean and avoiding long fasting or starving yourself.

Where to Get Help for Binge Eating

If you believe someone you know may be binge eating, there are several things you can do. One of the first things that is recommended is contacting an eating disorder association

There are also support organizations such as National Eating Disorders that provide a helpline where you can text, call or chat online for support, resources, and treatment options for yourself or for a loved one. If you or a loved one is in crisis, you can reach a trained volunteer by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

Additionally, someone with BED may benefit from binge eating treatment at a rehab center. Statistics show that cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective in treating eating disorders.

Signs of Binge Eating Disorder

Do you have a friend who eats in secret because they feel guilty after consuming a large quantity of food? The binge eater has feelings of self-hatred and disgust, wondering if they are an addict. Do they make all their social plans around when they can eat, or avoid these activities altogether?

If you notice a loved one may seemingly have BED, consider talking to them about how they feel. Make sure your loved one feels comfortable and safe with you as you learn more about their situation.

BED is a serious condition that many people suffer from in silence. As you learn more about this disorder, keep this information in mind to learn how to better help those at risk with BED.

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