Many people struggle with binge eating disorder in their lifetime, but only 43% of them seek help. It is due to the lack of awareness and acceptance around the disorder. Binge Eating Disorders (BED) is when the person consumes a lot of food in a short time. They also feel a lack of self-control as they are not able to control their portions or stop eating even when they are full. Afterward, it becomes difficult for them to overcome the feeling of guilt and shame.
Many of those who suffer from the disorder do not know that they have it. In everyday slang, it is often called “eating one’s feelings away.” We will discuss more about binge eating ahead. However, it is important to know that people who have binge eating disorder often feel a lack of control over their ability to stop eating. Those who are unaware of the disorder make uninformed statements like ‘just stop eating!’ This might do more harm than good.
Binge eating can be triggered by many factors, such as stress or emotional distress. While consuming the food, the person feels relief, but what follows after that are feelings of shame, regret, and guilt. There is a huge lack of awareness around this disorder, which makes it harder for people to cope with it. If left untreated, it could cause weight gain, depression, and many health issues like diabetes and heart problems.
To understand whether you or someone you know has it or not, it is crucial that you know the symptoms. A healthcare professional will diagnose someone with binge eating disorder if they have three or more of the mentioned symptoms.
- You eat more rapidly than others around you.
- You eat until uncomfortably full.
- You eat alone due to embarrassment and shame.
- You feel disgusted or ashamed of yourself after eating.
- You eat large amounts without feeling hungry.
For those with binge eating disorder, food is one of their only ways to deal with emotions. But the happy feeling lasts only as long as the food does. Once the food is over, feelings of guilt and shame creep in. The negative feelings are due to the amount of food they ate and the lack of control they had.
What causes binge eating disorder?
One of the questions that most people have about binge eating disorder is ‘what causes the disorder?’ There are many people who struggle to understand that binge eating disorder is a real issue that people struggle with. The causes of BED can be many. Let us take a look at some of the common causes.
Binge eating disorder is more commonly found in women. In the United States of America, around 3.6% of women have the disorder, while 2.0% of men have it. Research suggests that this may be connected to underlying biological factors.
This is one of the main causes of binge eating disorders. People who have this disorder often have structural changes in the brain. This causes a heightened response to food. The person also seems to have lesser self-control, which makes them overeat.
Those who struggle with overcoming the disorder often blame a traumatic or stressful period in their lives. It can be anything from a stressful childhood to a car accident or even a divorce. The triggers may vary from person to person.
Sometimes, disorders like binge eating could be due to genetics. Many times, people try to brush it off by saying, ‘it’s all in your head,’ but that is not true. People who have BED often have increased sensitivity to dopamine. It is a chemical that gives us the ‘high’ when we do something pleasurable. This is why sometimes you feel so excited and happy when you see your food coming.
The disorder is also known as compulsive overeating. Those who are not familiar with the term often say that they consume large amounts of food without being able to stop. The episodes vary depending on the intensity of the disorder.
However, there is more to it. Overeating regularly causes weight gain. Not only can it create health issues like diabetes and hypertension, but it also pushes people towards depression and anxiety.
Awareness needs to be created around disorders as such. The conversation also needs to be normalized. Binge eating disorders, like many others, are treatable. But people feel ashamed of it and hide it instead of seeking help. There are many forms of treatment available like psychotherapy, medicines to control the disorder, and even special weight-loss programs to help you. All you need to do is take the first step.