3 Health Risks of a Binge Eating Disorder

There are several types of eating disorders, but one of the newly identified disorders is the binge eating disorder. If you suffer from a binge eating disorder, you eat a vast amount of food while feeling that you are unable to stop. You feel powerless and out of control. The foods that you are most likely consuming while compulsively overeating are typically high in fat and low in protein. The disorder can therefore cause complications similar to obesity. Here are some health risks associated with binge eating, as well as how to find help if you suffer from this disorder.

1. Depression

This is a very serious health risk associated with any eating disorder. Since many eating disorders stem from the inability to cope with feelings, emotions or difficult situations, depression is a common factor. It is magnified when you feel guilt and shame after consuming large amounts of food. You may attempt to hide your binge eating episodes, so you then begin to feel as if you are leading a double life. This depression leads you to binge again, and it becomes a cycle. It may even cause you to have serious thoughts of suicide. If you or someone you know has reached this stage, please seek help from a professional.

2. High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

When you compulsively overeat, you often flood your body with fats, sugars and carbohydrates. This may lead to weight gain and high blood pressure, which requires your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body. The high amount of fat that you may be consuming as you binge will contribute to high cholesterol. This will clog your arteries, which decreases the amount of oxygen that your heart receives, causing it to work less efficiently. High cholesterol can lead to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

3. Type 2 Diabetes

The food that you eat when you binge is typically called comfort food. This means that it is high in carbohydrates, which the body then converts to sugar. It doesn’t take the body very long to process the simple carbohydrates in comfort foods, which means that your blood glucose levels spike quickly after your binge. A few hours later you are left feeling sluggish and drained, and you again reach for more simple carbohydrates. After this happens for a while your body begins to experience insulin resistance, which is a primary step toward diabetes. If you have diabetes your risk for heart attack increases, as does your risk for vision and nerve problems.

How You Can Get Help

If you suffer from a binge eating disorder, there are several treatment options available for you. Cognitive behavioral therapy will help you to analyze your relationship with food as well as help you to reevaluate how you react in times of stress. Interpersonal psychotherapy will help you to analyze the relationships with the people around you in order to identify why you have a need to compulsively overeat. Medication, such as antidepressants, may help you if you suffer from the vicious cycle of eating to soothe your emotions. There are also self help groups available to help with binge eating disorders.


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