Binge eating disorder - What is binge eating disorder.   Bright Tots - Information on child development - Autism information.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is characterized by relentless periods of overeating during which the person feels a loss of control over his
or her intake. Unlike bulimia, binge eating episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise or fasting. As a result, people
with binge eating disorder often are overweight or obese. They also experience guilt, shame and/or distress about the binge
eating. After a binge, they frequently try to diet or eat normal meals. But restricting their eating can lead to more bingeing,
continuing the cycle.

Binge eating disorder has only recently started attracting serious attention and there are still questions over its definition, its
unknown how many people are affected. Most estimates say it's the most common of all eating disorders. Both children and
adults can develop binge eating disorder. Binge eating can affect women or men, though it appears twice as often among women
and girls.

Binge eating disorder may cause a person to keep on eating even after they become repulsively full. The main characteristics of
binge eating disorder are repeated, out-of-control phases of devouring unusually large amounts of food. Those who experience
this disorder eat whether they’re hungry or not. Binge eaters are usually very tormented by their eating behavior and experience
feelings of disgust and guilt both during and after bingeing. Most feel ashamed and try to hide their problem. Many are so good at
concealing their binge eating habits from others that even close family members or friends are unaware they suffer from an
eating disorder.

Binge eating disorder: Some usual warning signs a of binge eating disorder. The individual:

•        Eats large amounts of food when not actually hungry.
•        Eats much more rapidly than normal.
•        Eats until the point of feeling uncomfortably full.
•        Often eats alone because of shame or embarrassment.
•        Has a feeling of depression, disgust, or guilt after eating.
•        Has a history of obvious weight inconsistency.

Binge eating disorder is not yet officially classified as a mental disorder. Mental health experts hope that ongoing research will
determine if binge eating is a distinct medical condition, a nonspecific type of eating disorder or simply a group of symptoms.
Obese people with binge-eating disorder often have coexisting psychological illnesses including anxiety, depression, and
personality disorders. In addition, links between obesity and cardiovascular disease and hypertension have been documented.

Some complications can arise from being overweight as a result of frequent bingeing. Other problems may occur because of
unhealthy irregular eating habits or binges followed by periods of calorie limitation. In addition, food consumed during a binge is
often high in fat and low in protein and other nutrients, which could lead to malnourishment.

Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Individuals with binge eating disorder regularly eat excessive amounts of food (binge). A binge is considered eating a larger
amount of food than most people would eat under similar circumstances. A binge episode is typically considered to last about
two hours. But the duration also is undetermined, and some experts say binges can last an entire day.

Physically, individuals with binge eating disorder may show no signs or symptoms. Some may be overweight or obese, but not
always. However, most people who are obese don't have binge eating disorder.

Some people believe that those with binge eating disorder have fewer health risks than those with anorexia or bulimia, but that's
not necessarily true. People with binge eating disorder face a large number of medical complications. Nevertheless, those
suffering from binge eating disorder often have numerous behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms. These include:

•        Eating until the point of discomfort or pain
•        Binge eating episodes not accompanied by purging at least 2 times per week
•        Eating much more food during a binge episode than during a normal meal or snack
•        Eating faster during binge episodes
•        Feeling that their eating behavior is out of control
•        Frequent dieting without weight loss
•        Recurrent episodes of binge eating
•        Frequently eating alone
•        Hoarding food
•        Hiding empty food containers
•        Feeling depressed, disgusted or upset over the amount eaten
•        Depression or anxiety
•        Binge eating occurring at least twice a week for at least six months

Binge eating is similar to another eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and some experts think it may be a form of bulimia. But unlike
people with bulimia, who purge after eating, people with binge eating disorder don't try to rid themselves of the extra calories
they consume by self-induced vomiting, overly exercising or other inappropriate methods. That's why most people with binge
eating disorder are overweight. In fact, other theories say binge eating may be a type of obesity disorder.

As with other eating disorders, in binge eating disorder people are constantly watching and/or unhappy with their weight, body
shape and appearance. Those with binge eating disorder often feel afflicted about their lives and are at higher risk of serious
health complications.

Binge Eating Disorder Causes

Researchers have only recently initiated studies on binge eating disorder; they're still trying to learn more about potential causes.
As with other mental disorders, there's likely no single cause. Rather, binge eating disorder probably occurs from either
biological, psychological or both social and cultural factors, including family, relationships and life experiences.

Biological- Some people may be biologically vulnerable to developing binge eating disorder. Both genes and brain
chemicals may be involved in the disorder. In addition, researchers are studying appetite control of the central nervous system
for clues, along with gastrointestinal changes that might clarify the causes.

Psychological- People with binge eating disorder may have psychological and emotional characteristics that contribute to
the disorder. They may have low self-esteem. They may have trouble controlling impulsive behaviors, managing their moods or
expressing anger.

Sociocultural- Modern Western culture often encourages and emphasizes a desire for thinness. Although, most people
who have a binge eating disorder are overweight, they're acutely aware of their body shape and appearance and are angry at
themselves after eating binges. Some people with binge eating disorder have a history of being sexually abused.

Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder

Treatment options for binge eating are similar to those used to treat bulimia. Antidepressants may reduce binge eating episodes
and help improve depression in some individuals. People with binge eating disorder also may be prescribed appetite suppressants.
Psychotherapy is also used to treat the source of psychological problems linked with binge eating, in an individual or group

The goals for treatment of binge eating disorder are to reduce eating binges and, when necessary, to lose weight. Research
shows four types of treatment in particular may be most effective. They are:

Psychotherapy- Psychotherapy, whether in individual or group sessions, can help teach people how to exchange unhealthy
habits for healthy ones and reduce bingeing episodes. It teaches the individual how to monitor their eating and moods, develop
problem solving skills and learn how to respond to stressful situations. Psychotherapy can also help improve relationships and
mental condition.

Studies show that a few types of psychotherapy in particular may be effective. These are cognitive behavior therapy,
interpersonal therapy and dialectical behavior therapy - an intensive type of therapy that focuses on learning how to more calmly
control emotions. For children with binge eating disorder, family therapy also may be beneficial.

Medications- There's no medication specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat binge eating
disorder. However, studies show that several types of medications may be helpful, including antidepressants.

Behavioral weight-loss programs- Weight loss programs focus on losing excess body weight. These binge eating diet
programs may also tackle issues that likely trigger binges, but often to a less significant level than psychotherapy does. However,
weight loss programs, especially those that are not medically supervised, may not be appropriate for everyone with binge eating
disorder. These programs usually aren't recommended until the binge eating disorder has been treated. Very low calorie diets can
trigger more binge eating episodes which only aggravate the condition.

If you think your child may have an eating disorder, talk to him or her. Your child may not be ready to accept having a problem
with food, but you may be able to help by expressing concern and a desire to listen. You may also want to contact your child's
pediatrician with your concerns. You can get a referral to qualified professionals for treatment. When doctors suspect someone
has an eating disorder, they typically run a series of tests. These can help identify a diagnosis and also evaluate any related
complications. These assessments generally include a physical exam, laboratory tests, and a psychological evaluation.
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