Many people are surprised when they learn that neither anorexia nervosa nor bulimia nervosa is the most frequently occurring form of eating disorder.The truth is, the most common form of eating disorder, which affects from 6 to 8 million people in the United States, is binge eating disorder. This disorder, added to the DSM-V in 2013, is characterized by frequent and recurring binge eating episodes, in which they eat a large amount of food in a short period. These episodes usually feature fatty or sugary foods and are done in secret, spurring feelings of guilt or shame.
In opposition to bulimia nervosa, which also features binge eating episodes,people with binge eating disorder do not purge their food by vomiting, laxatives, or compulsive exercise. Binge eating disorder is a very serious mental health problem that can carry severe physical health issues. With so many people, numbering in the millions, dealing with binge eating disorder, it’s become a clear public health issue. Thankfully help from binge eating disorder centers is increasingly available.
What Is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating disorder, also shortened to BED, is a widespread and potentially dangerous mental health disorder that results in compulsive overeating during binging episodes. This becomes compulsive, and the person with the disorder often feel their binge eating is beyond their control. It becomes a compulsion from which they feel they can’t stop and feel guilt or shame about their disordered behaviors.
If BED is left untreated, the serious health issues surrounding obesity, and further psychiatric complications related to depression, poor self-image, and anxiety can occur. People with binge eating disorder are at higher risk for suicidal ideation and self-harm, such as cutting than the general population.
The American Psychiatric Association says that people with BED binge at least 1 to 3 times per week, eating large amounts of food much more quickly than normal. Usually, the person binging feels shame and self-disgust at the behavior but still feels compelled to keep doing it. While it’s not present in every case of BED, weight gain and obesity are potent risks.
What Groups Are at the Highest Risk for Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating disorder can affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.Unlike most other eating disorders that are more common in cisgender women and trans people than in cisgender men, BED is almost as common in men as women. It affects about 2 percent of men –and about 3 percent of cis women. Binge eating disorders are also the most common eating disorder reported among Latinx, African-American and Asian-American women.
The causes of every mental health disorder, including eating disorders, are impossible to place on one single factor. However, some contributing causes have been identified. Some of these causes may include:
- Past Trauma (PTSD)
- Frequent dieting and food restrictions
- Stress, Depression, or Anxiety (Co-Occurring Disorders)
- Low Self-Esteem
- Negative Body Image
These risk factors can also contribute to other eating disorders what might warrant treatment at an eating disorder recovery center, or influence other kinds of mental health disorder like depression or acute anxiety.
What Are the Warning Signs of Binge Eating Disorder?
Some of the most commonly observed signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder include:
- Fluctuating weight or sudden weight gain
- Eating sparing at meals but gaining weight
- Eating large meals despite not being hungry
- Keeping hidden food
- Trying to hide wrappers or other food trash
- Eating alone or in secret
- Feeling depressed, guilty, or angry with themselves after eating
Treatment Methods for Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder treatment is similar to other eating disorder treatment programs in that it aims to rehabilitate the client’s relationship with food and eating while preparing them for life outside the center. People interested in binge eating treatment centers can usually choose from several different levels of care including day treatment, residential programs, and step-down PHP or IOP options. Normally speaking, insurance can cover much if not all the cost of treatment.
If you see yourself or your loved one struggling with binge eating disorder, don’t hesitate to get help. It can be as simple a step as reaching out to your therapist or a binge eating disorder treatment facility. Their admissions counselors are ready to assess your concerns and get you on the path to a healthy, recovered life.