Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is commonly known as compulsive overeating or consuming abnormal amounts of food while feeling unable to stop and at a loss of control.
During such binges, a person rapidly consumes an excessive amount of food.
Binge eating episodes are typically classified as occurring on average a minimum of twice per week for a duration of six months.
Although people who do not have an eating disorder may occasionally experience episodes of overeating, frequent binge eating is often a symptom of an eating disorder. Men and women suffering from binge eating disorder struggle with emotions of disgust and guilt and often have a related co-morbidity, such as depression or anxiety.
Binge eating is when a client:
- Periodically does not exercise control over the consumption of food
- Eats an unusually large amount of food at one time, far more than a normal person would eat in the same amount of time
- Eats much faster during binge episodes than during normal eating episodes
- Eats until physically uncomfortable and nauseated due to the amount of food just consumed
- Eats when depressed or bored (emotional eater – eats when happy, sad, worried)
- Eats large amounts of food even when not really hungry
- Usually eats alone during binge-eating episodes, in order to avoid discovery of the disorder
- Often eats alone during periods of normal eating, owing to feelings of embarrassment about food
- Feels disgusted, depressed or guilty after binge eating
- Rapid weight gain and /or sudden onset of obesity
While people tend to overeat from time to time, a consistent habit of frequent consumption of large amounts of food in a short period of time usually leads to weight gain and obesity. The most problematic health consequences of this type of eating disorder are brought on by the weight gain resulting from binge episodes.
People with binge eating disorders may become ill due to a lack of proper nutrition.
Binge eating episodes usually include foods that are high in fat, sugar and/or salt, but low in vitamins and minerals. Individuals are usually very upset about their binge eating and may become depressed. Those who are obese and also have binge eating disorders are at risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, gallbladder disease, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.