A person with a binge eating disorder has episodes of eating abnormally large amounts of food. A binge eaters’ overeating is a compulsion; she may feel guilty about it, but finds it impossible to stop.
Binge eaters often consume huge amounts of food at one time or continue to eat abnormal amounts over the course of an entire day. They tend to eat very quicky, often practically shoving food into their mouths. In fact, they may eat so quickly that they hardly taste the food they are consuming.
When faced with obesity, health problems and the emotional aspects of binging, a binge eater may want to stop, but feels powerless to do so. Fortunately, there are many types of therapy that may prove helpful for a person with this disorder. Joining a support group and taking antidepressants may help as well. Here are 5 signs that a person you love may have a binge eating disorder:
1. Frequent Binging
A person with a binge eating disorder exhibits a pattern of regular or frequent binging. Anyone can give in and overeat from time to time. The difference is binge eating is rare in those who do not have an eating disorder. They usually realize what they’ve done and avoid that behavior in the future. A binge eater, on the other hand, has a compulsion for binge eating and continues it over a long-term period. The average binge eater gives in to an episode of binge eating about twice per week.
2. Emotional Upset Before and After Binging
People with binge eating disorders often have episodes of over eating that correspond to some sort of emotional upset. For example, a person may begin an episode while worried over passing a test or paying bills. Some may have episodes after they have experienced some type of rejection, while others may eat to help them avoid feelings of sadness. A person with this eating disorder may also have an episode while she is struggling with loneliness.
3. Post Binge Upset
A person with a binge eating disorder is often very upset after an episode. She may feel a full range of emotions including anxiety, depression, shame and self-loathing. Unlike a person who overeats occasionally, a binge eater may not even enjoy most of the food she consumes. Often, the emotional upset that accompanies binge eating includes fear of what others would think if they discovered the binging.
Often, physical issues caused by this disorder only make matters worse. As the result of binge eating, a person is likely to gain weight. This weight gain only causes the binge eater to become more upset with herself. This emotional upset then leads to another episode of binge eating.
4. Lack of Action to Fix Episodes
What makes a binge eating disorder stand out against other disorders is the lack of attempts to fix the problem or avoid weight gain. People with this disorder do not typically cause themselves to vomit or take laxatives to help get rid of the food they’ve consumed. A person with bulimia, for example, may vomit, exercise compulsively, or even fast to avoid gaining weight. Likewise, an anorexic person typically starves herself because she believes she is overweight. A person with binge eating disorder is unlike to exhibit any of these behaviors.
5. Secretive Behavior
People with binge eating disorder tend to be very secretive about their eating habits. They may eat normal amounts of food when others are around and only participate in binges when they have privacy. They may also hide food in their bedrooms or stock pile it for the next episode.