If you regularly eat a large amount of food in a short period of time, you may have binge-eating disorder.
Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Left untreated, binge-eating disorder may lead to weight gain and health problems related to obesity. Depression, anxiety, joint and muscle pain and problems with the digestive system are common health problems for people with the disorder.
“Binge-eating is not just a lot of overeating,” said Dr. Cynthia Bulik, an expert on eating disorders at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “There’s this sense of loss of control. You start eating and you feel like you just can’t stop.”
People with binge-eating disorder continue to eat long after they feel full. They will often eat until they feel very uncomfortable. Afterward, they’re often overcome by feelings of guilt, shame, and distress, according to the National Institute of Health.
If you’re trying to lose weight and struggle with binge-eating disorder, it’s important to talk to your health provider.
Binge eating can make it hard to lose weight and keep it off. If you have binge-eating disorder and are overweight, a weight-loss program that also offers treatment for eating disorders may help you lose weight. However, some people with binge eating disorder do just as well in a behavioral treatment program designed only for weight loss as people who do not binge eat. Federal health officials recommend you talk with your doctor to help you decide whether you should try to manage your binge eating before entering a weight management program.
Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs. They may include talk therapy, nutritional counseling, and medications. With treatment, you can return to healthier eating habits and prevent serious complications.
People with eating disorders can be thin or overweight. Symptoms include the following signs:
- Skipping meals, making excuses for not eating, or eating in secret or separately.
- Persistent worrying or talking about healthy eating, exercise, being overweight, or losing weight.
- Eating much more food in a meal or snack than what’s considered normal.
- Eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods.
- Leaving during meals to use the toilet.
- Expressing depression, disgust, shame, or guilt about eating habits.
- Frequently checking the mirror for perceived flaws.
If you need help losing weight, seek guidance from weight loss specialists. Successful weight loss begins with a program that’s tailored to your individual needs.
Source: NIH, News in Health