Binge-eating disorder is not as well known as the two others eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) but still affects millions of people all around the world. An individual frequently eating large amounts of food and feeling they are unable to control what they are doing characterizes this illness. Unlike Bulimia, sufferers of this illness do not vomit or use laxatives to relieve themselves, and are therefore very likely to gain weight.
This disorder was only recognized a short while ago however is probably the most common of the eating disorders, affecting about 2% of all adults. Sufferers are usually obese due to the nature of the illness but people of a healthy weight can also be affected.
Eating can make some people feel very depressed yet they turn to food to comfort themselves when they are feeling sad. Lots of sufferers of binge–eating disorder tend to feel guilty and shameful about what they’re doing and therefore don’t seek help because this means someone knowing about their secret.
There are many characteristics of a binge-eating session, such as eating the food quicker than usual, eating secretly in places where no one is around, feeling full up but continuing to eat, consuming foods that are seen as naughty and feeling they cannot control their habit. This is usually followed by intense feelings of regret and guilt. This disorder is more common in women than in men.
- Eating frequently in large quantities
- Eating though full up
- Fast eating
- Eating in secret
- Low self-esteem, low confidence
- Eating when sad, lonely or bored for comfort
- Being aware of the emotional distress to come yet not being able to stop binging
- Feelings of deep regret and guilt afterwards
- Feeling out of control in the situation
- Anxious and depressed emotions
- Become obsessed with food and body
- Frequent changes in weight
- Binge twice weekly or more over a number months
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Mild breathing difficulties
- Isolation from others
- Relationship strains
- Obsession with appearance
- Low self esteem and low confidence
- Anxiety or Depression
- Decrease in energy, feeling tired and weak
Individuals with binge-eating disorder rarely seek help; this is sometimes because they are unaware of the illness or unaware that they have a problem. People with the disorder often encounter intense feelings of shame and guilt so even if a person does recognize their problem they still avoid seeking help because that would mean others finding out about their habits.
Many sufferers of the disorder state that emotions such as sadness, anger, worry and stress can trigger a binge eat. However if the individual learns other ways of dealing with their emotions it may help them to concentrate on something other than eating. Common coping skills used are meditation or even just talking. This would however involve the sufferer sharing their secret, which is something they will want to avoid.
There are a number of treatments available for this disorder; EMDR therapy and Hypnotherapy have been proven to be very effective in treating this type of disorder