You get up in the middle of the night and see yourself opening the fridge for some ice cream fix. The next day, you’ll crave for a box of pizza, a dozen of doughnuts, or a bag of chips—in between your rice meals, desserts, and snack. You just can’t stop. But while you may think you are having anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulima nervosa (BN), you go ask yourself first if you have the urge to purge. If not, then you might be having a binge eating disorder (BED). BED is a serious disorder characterized by frequently consume unusually large amounts of food, without the will to stop and to throw it up—just like what people with AN and BN do, the American Psychological Association said.
Its cause it still unknown but having family history, biological factors, long-term dieting, and psychological issues increase may also increase the risk.
According to National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) in USA, people who have BED are likely to be obese. They unusually consume large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, without control. They also tend to eat rapidly even when not hungry, until they became uncomfortably full.
Those who have BED are also frequently eating alone or in secret, thus, feeling depressed, disgusted about their selves, ashamed, guilty or upset about their behavior.
Alex*, a 28 year-old IT specialist, is admittedly a binge eater.
“I eat every now and then. Before breakfast, I munch on something heavy, then have a snack just before lunch. When I’m at work, I would also stack up food in my desk so they are within reach when I wanted something,” she says. She says everytime she works, like she just had a nas server test or something, she still craves to eat. Aside from her coffee thrice a day, and rice meals, one would oftentimes see Alex grabbing a bit of her favorite hotdog sandwich in their nearest convenient store, chocolate bars, junk food, or a slice of cake.
“My job entails a more ‘pleasing’ personality, we always deal with clients so sometimes, my colleagues would tease about my weight,” she says. Even international pop star Demi Lovato said that she was a binge eater. While growing up, she struggles from weight issues and bullying.
“I started overeating when I was about eight; I was a binge eater. I would bake a whole plate of cookies and eat them all. Then when I turned 12 I was bullied in school and they called me fat,” she revealed in 2012. Having this disorder may develop psychological and physical problems. One may feel socially isolated, just like what singer Demi Lovato experience when she was being teased of her weight due to binge eating. According to Mayo Clinic, people with BED may also have a low self-esteem, and problems on personal life and at work may arise.
Aside from which, binge eating could also lead to other medical problems like type 2 diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heart disease, and some sleep-related breathing disorders. Moreover, BED may also lead to psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and abuse of drugs. Binge eating is not simple to treat. Patients who have the disorder need the help of the people around them to be able to fight their urge to eat a lot during binge eating episodes. Dieting does not even help as the more it is being done, the more the person is triggered to eat more. Sticking to a meal plan (breakfast included), should also be supervised. Doctors say that eating breakfast will likely to prevent one from eating high-caloric food for the entire day.
The patient is also advised to stay connected to their loved ones. They should also be engaged with other activities that will boost your energetic lifestyle.
As for their loved ones, Dr. Jennifer Kromberg of Psychology Today says that it will not help if they will keep on criticizing them about their weight.
“Binge eaters know what they should and should not do. Long lasting results come from compassion and deeper insight into the function of the disorder. Commenting on their food and exercise choices does not help,” the lady doctor added.