When You Can’t Stop Eating: A Closer Look at Binge-Eating Disorder (BED)

We’ve all over-indulged from time to time. Perhaps we ate too much at a buffet, or had an extra helping at a Thanksgiving feast. Overeating, to a degree, is normal behavior. But what about when overeating occurs daily? Or even multiple times per day? What happens when we feel as though we cannot stop eating, no matter how hard we try?

When most people think of Eating Disorders (EDs), they think of an emaciated, sick-looking person (in other words, they picture someone with Anorexia Nervosa). Hearing the words “Eating Disorder” may also trigger images of a person sticking their fingers down their throat and inducing vomiting (purging behavior typical of someone with Bulimia Nervosa). The truth is, there are more than just two types of Eating Disorders. This article will discuss one type of Eating Disorder that is similar to Bulimia Nervosa, yet differs from it in many ways. Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) can be just as harmful as the other types of EDs, yet it is seldom discussed or included in conversations about Eating Disorders in general.

What is Binge-Eating Disorder (BED)?

Binge-Eating Disorder (BED), which is also known as Compulsive Overeating, is a type of Eating Disorder that is diagnosable in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). It is characterized by consuming excessive amounts of food in a relatively short period of time, and includes the feeling of being out of control or unable to stop eating. A typical binge for someone with BED lasts anywhere between one and two hours, whereby the individual may consume up to 3,000 calories in one sitting. For those of you who know the recommended adult daily intake (approximately 2,000 calories/day), you know that eating 3,000 calories in one sitting is a lot. In fact, people with BED continue eating past the point of satiation. During a binge, they consume as much food as they possibly can in the quickest period of time – normally because they recognize that their behavior is not considered “normal” and they are ashamed of themselves because they cannot seem to stop eating. People with this disorder often report feeling very distressed either during or immediately after a binge episode, and are also prone to DepressionAnxiety Disorders, and Substance Abuse/Addictionproblems. They key feature that distinguishes Bulimia Nervosa (BN) from Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) is that persons with BED do not engage in compensatory behavior, such as purging after bingeing in order to “make up” for the overeating. Follow this link to read the rest of this post.

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