What Is Binge Eating Disorder? How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms
Over 2.8 million people have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder.
This means it affects three times the number of people diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia, making it the most common eating disorder in America.
But what is binge eating disorder?
We’ll dive into the definition of binge eating disorder and the signs and symptoms that go along with it.
So make sure you keep reading below.
What Is Binge Eating Disorder?
A person with binge eating disorder becomes unable to control how much food they eat and when they do it. Because of this, they’ll eat excessively large amounts of food in one sitting without feeling like they’re able to stop.
But this is more than just overeating every once in a while.
These binges become a normal part of the person’s behavior. The binge eating definition states most people with this disorder will have a binge at least once a week for months (or even years) at a time.
In most cases, the person doesn’t enjoy binge eating, but they can’t resist the urge to pick up more food. They’ll keep eating even if they’re already uncomfortably full.
How to Spot the Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a binge eating disorder can be difficult. If you don’t actually see the binge, you might think the rest of their eating habits are normal.
But once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to better spot the warning signs.
Here’s a quick look at behavioral and physical symptoms.
One of the main changes you’ll notice in a person with a binge eating disorder is how they act around food.
For example, they might:
- Eat unusually large amounts of food in a specific time period (such as over two or three hours)
- Binge at least once a week
- Eat much faster than others
- Be unable to control how much they eat
- Keep eating even when full
- Eat alone where no one can see / afraid of eating in public
- Feel depressed after a binge
- Steal or hoard food
- Show concern about their body weight
- Withdraws from usual activities
- Experience guilt or disgust about their eating habits
If someone you love starts showing these symptoms and develops low self-esteem, they might have binge eating disorder.
This type of eating also creates a few physical symptoms. These might be easier to recognize, but if you don’t understand the behavioral symptoms, it might be difficult to link them to binge eating disorder.
Some of the physical symptoms of this disorder include the following:
- Fluctuations in weight (they might gain a lot of weight then lose a lot of weight)
- Vague gastrointestinal complaints, like stomach cramps
- Trouble focusing and concentrating
If you notice any of these physical signs, keep an eye out for the emotional and behavioral signs as well.
What to Do If a Loved One Is Struggling with This Disorder
If you think a loved one is struggling with binge eating disorder, have an honest conversation with them about the disorder. Be open and show your support.
Encourage them to get treatment and offer to help them look for it. You might also want to let them know you’re willing to go with them to treatment if they would feel more comfortable that way.
Understanding Binge Eating Disorder
So what is binge eating disorder?
In short, it’s a condition where people feel unable to control what they eat, how much of it they eat, and when they eat it. If you or a loved one is dealing with this disorder, you should seek out professional treatment right away.
Want to get back into healthy eating habits?
Make sure you take a look at some of the benefits of eating pork.