7 Signs of Binge-Eating Disorder
Binge-Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder but often goes undiagnosed. People who binge-eat come in all shapes and sizes and typically have long histories of repeated dieting to lose weight. Nearly half of those struggling with Binge-Eating Disorder are of normal weight, but may still have serious physical, emotional, and social consequences. Here are some signs that you may be suffering from Binge-Eating Disorder:
- You eat large amounts of food.
- There are certain times, such as holidays, when most of us tend to eat more than usual. This is socially acceptable and not necessarily pathological. If you have Binge-Eating Disorder, however, then you engage in overeating more often than the typical person. You eat an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
- You have a sense of a lack of control over eating during the episode.
- If you have a healthy relationship with food, then you are able to control how much you eat and stop yourself when you are comfortably full. This is not the case with for individuals with Binge-Eating Disorder.
- You eat very quickly.
- During a binge, a person eats much more rapidly than they would eat normally.
- You eat until feeling uncomfortably full.
- Some theories behind Binge-Eating Disorder suggest that eating to the point of pain serves as self-punishment related to feelings of guilt and/or shame.
- You eat when you’re not hungry.
- A person with Binge-Eating Disorder will eat large amounts of food when they are not physically hungry. You might be wondering what kind of hunger isn’t physical, but we can also have emotional hunger. Binge-eating behavior may temporarily reduce unpleasant feelings and many people find that it is relaxing, stress-reducing, or comforting in some way.
- You eat alone.
- Eating alone allows you to avoid judgment and criticism from others during a binge. You associate eating with feelings of embarrassment, which leads you to avoid binging while in the presence of others.
- You feel disgusted with yourself after a binge.
- You may feel depressed, remorseful, or very guilty following a binge. Regardless of the emotion, you have marked distress regarding binge-eating.
Binge-Eating Disorder is less common but much more severe than simply overeating and is often associated with other co-occurring psychological problems. The feelings and behaviors associated with binge-eating are perpetuated by problematic thoughts and misconceptions about food and weight.
The habitual binge-eating cycle is similar to that of addiction to drugs and alcohol, but unlike in chemical dependency treatment in which drugs and alcohol are typically discontinued completely, one cannot stop eating.
There are, however, reasons to be hopeful. Many people have successfully stopped binge-eating as a result of treatment. Studies have shown that the most effective therapeutic approaches for Binge-Eating Disorder are Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. At Grace Counseling, a therapist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders will utilize these modalities in an individualized manner to help you reach your goals. Contact us today for more information.
Jamie Walker, MA, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Agras, W. S. (Ed.). (2010). The oxford handbook of eating disorders. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Grilo, C. M., & Mitchell, J. E. (Eds.). (2010). The treatment of eating disorders: A clinical handbook. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Mitchell, J. E., Devlin, M. J., Zwann, M., Crow, S. J., & Peterson, C. B. (2008). Binge-Eating Disorder: A Clinical Foundations and Treatment. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Sandoz, E. K., Wilson, K. G., & Dufrene, T. (2010). Acceptance and commitment therapy for eating disorders. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.