Binge Eating Disorder

The German Association for Eating Disorders states that Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a psychological disorder characterised by consuming large amounts of food uncontrollably, often referred to as “food addiction.”

The association explained that the exact causes of binge eating disorder are not fully known, but doctors believe that various biological, social, and psychological factors play a role in its development. These factors may include a general susceptibility to mental disorders, negative self-image, difficult life events, childhood overweight or obesity, as well as psychological stress and mood disorders.

The association further added that binge eating disorder is diagnosed when recurrent binge eating episodes are accompanied by at least three of the following symptoms for three months:

Eating much more rapidly than usual.

Eating large amounts of food even when not feeling physically hungry.

Eating large amounts of food within a limited period (e.g., within two hours), and the amount being larger than what most people would eat under similar circumstances.

Eating alone due to embarrassment about the quantity of food being consumed.

Feeling a lack of control over the eating episode (e.g., feeling unable to stop eating or control the type of food).

Experiencing feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating.

Serious Consequences

The association warned that binge eating disorder can have serious consequences, as it increases the risk of obesity and related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and atherosclerosis. These conditions, in turn, raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Moreover, obesity increases the risk of heart failure, joint diseases, and spinal problems, in addition to respiratory and sleep disorders.

On the other hand, binge eating disorder also increases the risk of mental illnesses such as depression, hatred and contempt for oneself, and suicidal thoughts.

Treatment Approaches

To avoid these serious risks, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as symptoms indicating binge eating disorder are noticed, to receive timely treatment.

Binge eating disorder is addressed through cognitive-behavioural therapy, which helps the patient identify the underlying causes that drive them to overeat and assists them in developing alternative strategies.

In addition to cognitive-behavioural therapy, medication such as antidepressants may be used.

Moreover, the treatment plan usually involves weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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