The basic characteristic of Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is that the patient has a loss of control over eating behaviors and eats large amounts of food in a short time span. More than that, he does not engage himself in any such weight-reducing behaviors that may be harmful when done in excess of normal, e.g., excessive exercise, vomiting, etc.
A few other salient points of this Binge Eating Disorder are:
- An individual in his adolescence or early twenties has more chances of getting this disease
- Most of the patients suffering from this disorder are overweight or obese
- Almost 30% of individuals enrolling in weight loss programs have shown binge eating behavior
A person suffering with this disorder has the habit of eating uncontrollably until he feels sick, or becomes over-full in his stomach.
Due to this such a person is usually:
- Experiences fluctuations in weight
- Has difficulty in losing weight
Many studies have been performed on this topic. A few results of these studies show that:
- Women are more binge eaters than men
- 40 percent of obese people in general are binge eaters
- It occurs in about 30 percent of people who participate in medically supervised weight control programs
Binge eating may result in several medical problems. They may include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Gall Bladder Disease
- High Cholesterol
- Heart Disease
- Certain types of Cancer
Causes of Binge Eating Disorder:
- Binge Eating Disorder or BED may result from heredity and affective disorders, such as major depression
- BED patients are also more likely to have Impulsive Behaviors or Personality Disorders
- Individuals coming from such families who put emphasis on the importance of food as well as children who are taught to finish their meal regardless of their appetite are more prone to BED
- Cultural attitudes towards beauty and thinness play as a factor in forming BED
Treatment and Precautions:
The main focus of BED treatment is to educate the patient to achieve control over his eating behavior. It also focuses on taking regular and controlled meals.
The following method can be employed for treating a patient:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
A new advanced form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT-E) has been found. CBT-E is the first treatment which has been found suitable for most of eating disorders. This new treatment has been derived from an earlier form of CBT.
The following other methods are used according to the nature of patients:
- As depression is one of the prominent factors among BED patients, psycho pharmacological treatment and antidepressants may be used for the treatment.
- After limiting the binge eating behavior and regulating depressive symptoms the focus shifts to the treatment of physical symptoms of BED.
- A patient with BED who is overweight can go for moderate exercise programs and he/she may consult a nutritionist to take healthy food that may supplement exercise for weight loss.
In India, the imbalance between work and life results in distorting eating habits. The habit of missing meals at meal time might result in inviting "binge eating." It is so because when we are very hungry, we eat anything that comes to us irrespective of the quality of food.
A really busy person, whether in the office or agricultural farm, keeps ignoring food, giving the priority to each and every urgent work that keeps on emerging. When such a hungry person comes home, he starts eating non-stop. This behavior is considered as Emotional Eating, when the stress hormones "over ride" real hunger signals.
- Call a friend when you binge due to boredom. In case of loneliness one may feel hungry, so calling your friend will overcome your boredom and hunger need.
- Most of the desires for food are not due to hunger, in such cases try to keep yourself busy with some work for 20 minutes. Your false desire will go away.
- Walking and some aerobic exercises are a must, as they kill your desire for food.