By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Eating yourself to death – Binge Eating Disorder.
We used to ignore Binge Eating and only pay attention to eating disorders that involved inappropriate ways to control weight. Anorexia and Bulimia are well-recognized eating problems that were covered in previous posts.
Other posts about eating disorders and the new DSM-V proposals will be found at:
Recently we have started to see how the overeating part can be a major issue even without the effort to control weight. In Binge Eating Disorder the emotional eating component takes place but it is as if the person with Binge Eating Disorder gives up and stops even trying to control their weight.
As in Bulimia, the food is consumed in a relatively short period of time, two hours or less. One episode of this behavior does not make for the diagnosis; Binge Eaters do these behaviors on a regular basis. The strict diagnostic criterion calls for at least one episode a week for at least three months.
Loss of control is a hallmark of this as well as other impulse control problems. It is not simply that the person likes to eat but that they are driven to eat. Even when they try to avoid the excess calories they are unable to control themselves.
Binge eaters eat faster than everyone else, they wolf the food down. And the Binge eater does not stop when full. They are unable to realize they are full until it becomes impossible to eat more. Even when not hungry the Binge eater will continue to eat for the emotional values of the experience rather than for the nutritional ones.
This eating disorder like other eating disorders is characterized by secrecy and avoiding others seeing what the Binge Eater is doing, they will eat surreptitiously to avoid notice. After a binge episode, the Binger may become sad, anxious and have feelings of guilt. They can begin to hate themselves.
Binge eaters are not comfortable with what they are doing, they wish they could stop but efforts to control their food intake are unsuccessful.
Binge eating is not a simple case of overeating, laziness or unwillingness to exercise. It is a specific psychiatric problem that includes the uncontrollable urge to eat even when full and the lack of any energy to attempt to lose weight.
Binge Eating may lead to depression or may accompany a mood disorder. Gradually the pounds are packed on; the Binge eater becomes isolated from family and friends and may begin to hate themselves but still can’t stop without help. This condition requires professional treatment. Treatment for Binge eating may be less widely available than therapy for other eating disorders because the health damage occurs more slowly, but untreated the ill effects on health will certainly occur.
There is a fourth category of Eating disorders, Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) which includes both unusual problems in food and weight loss and those cases that are not quite severe enough to get a diagnosis of one of the three principal types.
Three brief posts to cover four potential problems in the area of food and eating. There is treatment available for all of these issues. If you have experienced an eating disorder and care to share your experience, strength, and hope please leave a comment about anything related to Anorexia, Bulimia Binge Eating Disorder or any other topic related to recovery.
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