Binge Eating

Feb 14, 2019

Most people overeat from time to time. It is easy to overdo it by taking an extra helping at Thanksgiving or eating dessert after you’re full. The difference between overeating and binge eating is binge eaters overeat on a regular basis and experience a loss of control. Individuals with binge eating disorder are different than individuals with bulimia because they usually eat large amounts of food, but do not throw up their food, exercise a lot, or eat only small amounts of certain foods. Therefore, binge eaters are commonly overweight or obese. It is also common for binge eaters to use food to cope with negative emotions, even though afterwards they feel even worse. Other common symptoms of binge eating are eating more quickly than usual during an episode, eating until uncomfortably full, eating when you are not hunger, eating alone because of embarrassment, and feeling depressed or guilty after overeating. These individuals often feel they are stuck in a vicious cycle, but the good news is binge eating disorder is treatable.

How do you know if you suffer from binge eating disorder? There are several questions you can ask to assess if you struggle with this disorder. The more you answer “yes”, the more likely you are to suffer from binge eating disorder. Ask yourself:

  • Do you think about food all the time?
  • Do you eat in secret?
  • Do you eat until you feel sick?
  • Do you eat to escape from worries, relieve stress, or to comfort yourself?
  • Do you feel disgusted or ashamed after eating?
  • Do you feel powerless to stop eating, even though you want to?
  • Do you feel out of control when you’re eating?

While there are many things you can do to help yourself stop binge eating, it’s also important to seek professional support and treatment. Health professionals who offer treatment for binge eating disorder include psychiatrists, nutritionists, therapists, and eating disorder and obesity specialists. Some common treatment approaches for binge eating disorder are cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. Sometimes people use medication or support groups to treat their binge eating symptoms. Regardless of the approach you take, it is important to get help and remember you are not alone!


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