What is Binge-Eating Disorder?
Binge-eating disorder is a condition that causes an individual to feel as if he or she cannot stop eating, resulting in the rapid consumption of unusually large amounts of food. While almost everyone overeats occasionally during holiday meals and other special events, people who are diagnosed with binge-eating disorder differ in that they are unable to control their overeating, allowing it to become a regular occurrence. The majority of those who binge are aware of their actions, often feel guilty or ashamed, and may even vow to stop. However, their compulsion renders them unable to resist the urge to eat.
The precise causes of binge-eating disorder remain unknown, but experts have identified some factors that are believed to increase an individual’s likelihood of developing the condition. These include a family history of eating disorders, low self-esteem, and chronic dieting.
Many people who have binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese as a result; however, some are able to maintain a healthy body weight. Some common behavioral and emotional signs that can help identify the condition include:
- Rapidly eating an unusually large amount of food in a limited timeframe, such as two hours
- Eating when not hungry
- Eating to the point of uncomfortable fullness
- Eating even when feeling full
- Frequently eating alone or in secret
- An out-of-control feeling with respect to eating behavior
- Feelings of shame, guilt, distress, disgust, or depression about eating habits
- Frequent dieting or caloric restriction, possibly without weight loss
Binge-eating disorder differs from bulimia, in which an affected person will typically attempt to compensate for the extra calories consumed by vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising excessively. For binge eaters, actions like these will often simply lead to further binge eating.
If you have any symptoms of binge-eating disorder, you are encouraged to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The condition usually doesn’t resolve on its own and, left untreated, and it may get worse.
If you’d like to speak with a physician about your binge-eating symptoms, you can contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. We do not require appointments at our walk-in clinic.