Individuals who have BED or binge eating disorder compulsively eat food because they feel like they’re powerless to stop doing so. Studies indicate that BED typically manifests in older adolescents and young adults, normally following an intensive diet.
A BED episode can last between one to two hours, while some can binge the whole day at intermittent intervals, and eat regardless of whether they’re hungry or not. They may eat as fast as possible, not realizing what the food tastes, much less what they’re actually eating.
Binge Eating Disorder Cycle
Binging can provide comfort for a quick moment until reality sinks in, coupled with self-hate and regret for overeating. BED episodes normally result in excessive weight gain or obesity, reinforcing the need to eat compulsively again.
A crucial thing to remember is that binge eaters utilize overeating as a coping mechanism for how they feel about their appearance. They get stuck in a vicious cycle of overeating to cope with their self-esteem issues, feeling excessively worse and more distressed. They turn to binge eating again, for comfort.
Note that binge eaters don’t compensate for their episodes, unlike bulimics (those struggling with bulimia) who throw up or excessively exercise following a BED episode. Individuals suffering from BED constantly feel depressed, self-loathing, and guilt over their actions, since they can’t control themselves even if they want to stop. The Eating Disorder Center of Denver says binge eaters can get help by talking to treatment centers. These places have discreet staff to help think about your treatment plans.
How Common is Binge Eating Disorder?
You may be surprised to know that in the United States, BED is the most common eating disorder in adults. The Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) mentions that BED affects approximately 2.8 million adults.
This number is significantly higher than the combined number of people struggling with bulimia and anorexia nervosa. It can manifest in people with healthy weight, as well as obese and overweight adults. The number of women suffering from BED is twice that of affected men.
BED will require specialized and intensive treatment. The road to recovery is often complicated, with various care levels and countless combinations of treatment approaches available.