Binge Eating Disorder
Binge-eating disorder may be diagnosed when someone eats abnormally large quantities of food in a short period of time while feeling loss of control. To meet the criteria for a diagnosis, binges must happen at least once per week for 3 months. This disorder often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Fear of shame or embarrassment over a perceived inability to control ones behavior may lead to an individual hiding the disorder. Many individuals with binge-eating disorder are under the impression they should be able to control their eating or simply exercise willpower. However, legitimate binge-eating disorder has biological components involved where an individual has little to no control over their behavior. In milder cases an individual may just believe they overeat due to stress occasionally.
Common characteristics indicating a binge-eating episode:
- Eating large amounts even when not hungry
- Eating very quickly
- Feeling intense shame, disgust, guilt, or depression after the binge
- Eating until uncomfortably full
- Eating alone due to embarrassment about the quantity eaten
Binge-eating disorder can have a profound impact on physical health as well as mental health. It typically leads to obesity and many other medical comorbidities over time. The large majority of those with this disorder also have another mental health disorder.
Notice: Those with binge-eating disorder do not attempt any extreme compensatory measures to purge the food or lose the weight. If binge-eating episodes are accompanied by extreme compensatory measures to lose weight, the diagnosis may change to bulimia-nervosa.