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Binge Eating


Binge eating means excessive eating without any control. This occurs in episodes. During this period, the person consumes a lot without having any control on their diet. Usually the food includes substances that are rich in sugar and lack nutritients. Binge eating is a sign of an eating disorder called Binge eating disorder. In this a patient eating excessive amount of food is called a binge, who tries to compensate the effect of overeating by purging i.e by use of laxative, inducing vomiting, fasting and heavy exercises. The patient usually does this when he feels bored, depressed or sad.
This disorder should not be confused with the other disorders like Bulimia nervosa and compulsive eating disorder. In Bulimia nervosa, the patient does not try to reduce weight after overeating like in Binge Eating Disorder (BED). He is usually not obese, while in BED the patient is overweight and obese. In compulsive disorder there is compulsion of eating while in this there is no compulsion for overeating.
The incidence in both men and women is same.

Complications can occurs because of obesity. The person may develop hypertension, blood pressure, heart disorder or certain type of cancers, sleep apnoea and Gastrointestinal problems. They may undergo depression. There is lack of nutrition also, as they eat fascinating foods with more sugar and salts.

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Depression can be a cause for BED. It can also cause depression. Emotions like anger, happiness, and others can cause some chemical changes in the mind leading the person to binge. However exact cause is still unknown. People with BED suffer from a psychological food addiction, like an alcoholic who cannot say no to a drink, they cannot say no to food. 

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Signs & Symptoms

Following are the symptoms in the patients having BED:

  • The person eats large amount of food at a time  
  • Eats periodically i.e binging occurs 2-3 times a week in 3 months  
  • Quickly consumes the large amount of food.
  • Emotions like anger, happiness, boredom can induce binging
  • Usually the patients eat alone as he feels ashamed in revealing his habit. Even the ones close to them are unaware of this habit.
  • They try to compensate for their overweight by exercising.
  • After eating, they feel depressed.
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There is no sure way to prevent binge eating disorder, but early intervention can help. Pediatricians may identify early indicators of an eating disorder and prevent its development. During routine check ups or medical appointments, pediatricians can question children about their eating habits and their appearance. Parents can also reinforce a healthy body image in their children.

If a family member or friend shows signs of low self-esteem, severe dieting, frequent overeating, hoarding of food or dissatisfaction with appearance, discussing his issues can help. Although its difficult to prevent binge-eating disorder or another eating disorder from developing, one can always talk to the person about healthier behavior or treatment options.

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Psychotherapy Psychotherapy

The goal of treatment for binge eating disorder is to reduce compulsive overeating and binging episodes. Health professional can help to the patients of binge eating disorder like psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. 
There are various programmes available like Over eaters programme, which help people who eat more food. 
Interpersonal Psychotherapy can help them with how they look at their relationships with their friends and relatives. 
Cognitive-behavioral therapy also helps them to keep away their unhealthy eating habits and teaches them how to control themselves in the situation where they are compelled to eat.

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