6 Things You Didn’t Know About Binge Eating Disorder

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Binge Eating Disorder from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

For most of modern history, people have associated eating disorders with bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, which have been identified in the DSM-5 for decades. However, in 2013 binge eating disorder was finally recognized as a unique and official eating disorder, clearing a path for greater acknowledgment of the disease and specialized binge eating disorder treatment. This type of eating disorder is characterized by recurring episodes of consuming very large amounts of food within a short period – often when they’re not hungry and also beyond the point of being full.

People who need binge eating disorder recovery will usually experience feelings of shame, guilt, and disgust after a binge eating episode. The symptoms of binge eating disorder aren’t like those associated with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, where people restrict food or purge after binging. Instead, this type of eating disorder doesn’t involve any compensatory behaviors. Binge eating disorder can be a serious, even deadly disease, so if you or a loved one has a binge eating disorder diagnosis, keep reading to learn more about the signs, symptoms, and risks associated with the condition. 

1. Binge Eating Disorder Affects All Genders

While many people associate eating disorders with young women and girls (and both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa do happen more frequently in women), both men and women of all ages can develop binge eating disorder. It’s been estimated that 40 percent of all BED cases are actually in men, as compared to only 5 – 15 percent for anorexia. When choosing a comprehensive eating disorder recovery program, it’s worthwhile to look into treatment centers that are targeted more towards men or women.

2. Binge Eating Disorders are Very Common

Binge eating disorder is actually the most common eating disorder in the US today. Almost 5 percent of the adult population of the United States is thought to develop it at some point in their lives. Despite its frequency, BED is often misdiagnosed as well.

3. Self-esteem and Shame Are Usually Big Parts of BED

Binge eating disorder treatment often revolves around reducing the disordered behavior – and the causes of that behavior must be addressed. Shame and binge eating disorders often go hand-in-hand. A major symptom of binge eating disorder is to tell their friends and family that they are on a diet – and the secret binges bring a sense of self-disgust or shame.

4. Emotions Can Help to Drive a Binge Eating Episode

Some people turn to binge eating as a way to cope with emotional distress or anxiety. In some ways, it’s similar to OCD in that these coping behaviors become compulsive. Binge eating episodes trigger the creation of serotonin, which can act as a way to reduce or get rid of feelings of anxiety and other negative emotions. 

5. Binge Eating Disorder is Associated with Many Serious Health Risks

While many of those with the condition experience high levels of shame and depression, they also have to worry about several physical health risks as well. Because of the fact that the foods eaten during a binge are usually junk foods or otherwise unhealthy, and that there is no counteracting purge, long-term BED can lead to obesity and the health risks that come with it. Early intervention is important for a successful binge eating disorder treatment program because many patients are already dealing with high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and musculoskeletal issues.

6. Binge Eating Disorder and Dieting Are Almost Always Linked

Many people who eventually develop binge eating disorder may turn to this type of disordered behavior after attempting to restrict their diets with highly inflexible rules. For example, when a person begins cutting out entire food groups like bread or dairy, they are more likely to feel deprived and hungry. When faced with such restrictive dietary rules, some people may choose to “cheat” on their diet by binging and promising to get back on track again the next day.

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