Binge Eating: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A woman binge eatingBinge eating disorder (BED) or compulsive overeating is characterized by eating a lot of food and not being able to stop. People who suffer from this disorder have episodes, which last for at least six months.

Binge eating can result in weight gain and even in obesity. Those who struggle with this problem get disgusted with themselves and overeat to counter guilt. Most of them also suffer from anxiety and depression. Help for binge eating disorder is available, and patients can check into a hospital to get help.

What causes it?

The exact reason for this illness is not known though there are a few factors that could cause a person to become a binge eater. These factors could be biological such as hormonal imbalances or of genetic origin. Psychological factors such as low self-esteem and inability to cope with one’s feelings could also result in overeating. Social and cultural factors such as being teased for being fat, comments on a person’s size or even sexual abuse could also contribute.

Signs and symptoms to watch out for

Many people suffering from this disorder are embarrassed and therefore, hide their symptoms. Here are some of the signs to watch out for:

  • Eating even if already full,
  • Eating anything available,
  • Stocking up to eat later, in secret,
  • Bingeing when one is alone, and
  • Eating when stressed or anxious.

The consequences of binge eating are multifold and can have a physical, emotional and social impact. Some health problems that result from binge eating are:

  • Heart disease,
  • Insomnia,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal issues, and
  • Depression.

Getting help for BED

Professional help is the best way to recover from this illness. Clinics that specialize in treating eating disorders have nutritionists, psychiatrists and therapists who work together. The first thing to do is to concentrate on emotional issues, which may trigger binge eating. The next step is to offer cognitive behavioral therapy and other programs to help people to cope and recover. Joining a support group also goes a long way in recovery.