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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Binge Eating Disorder

Note: Throughout this information, we use "she" when referring to a person suffering from binge eating disorder. However, binge eating is becoming increasingly prevalent among males. This information on binge eating is also applicable to men.

Binge eating is very serious and has an impact on both physical and mental health. Left untreated, binge eating can lead to severe medical problems including high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

What is Binge Eating?

Binge eating can affect women or men, though it appears twice as often among women. People with binge eating disorder suffer from episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing followed by periods of guilt and depression. Binge eating is marked by the consumption of large amounts of food, sometimes accompanied by a pressured, "frenzied" feeling. Binge eating disorder may cause a person to continue to eat even after she becomes uncomfortably full.

Binge Eating Warning Signs

There are many warning signs which indicate that someone may be suffering from binge eating disorder. A person with binge eating disorder may exhibit one, all, or any combination of these warning signs. Becoming aware of these warning signs is the first step in helping someone suffering from binge eating.

Common binge eating warning signs:

  • Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry is a sign of binge eating.
  • Eating much more rapidly than normal is a sign of binge eating.
  • Eating until the point of feeling uncomfortably full is a sign of binge eating.
  • A person with binge eating disorder may often eat alone because of shame or embarrassment.
  • A person with binge eating disorder has feelings of depression, disgust, or guilt after eating.
  • A person with binge eating disorder has a history of marked weight fluctuations.

How can I help someone with binge eating disorder?

You may know someone suffering from binge eating disorder. You may suspect that someone you know has binge eating disorder but are not certain. You may feel that you are beginning to exhibit some warning signs for binge eating. What should you do?

If you feel that you or someone you know may be suffering from binge eating disorder, it is important to seek professional counseling as quickly as possible. If untreated, binge eating will become part of a destructive cycle which can continue for years and cause significant health problems.

Talking to a binge eating treatment professional is the first step toward successful recovery. For more information on binge eating treatment options in your area, please call The Renfrew Center at 1-800-RENFREW. Confidentiality is strictly observed and most insurance plans are accepted.

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