Although it is always recommended to seek advice and treatment from a health professional if you believe you have an eating disorder, the following information may help you to determine whether or not you have an eating problem.
Although binge eating has existed for a number of years the illness is a relatively newly recognised disorder and is often referred to as compulsive eating. This disorder affects millions of people across the world. It has some similarities with bulimia nervosa where the sufferer consumes huge amounts of food in a small space of time due to a lack of control.
Following this the sufferer will purge/vomit, undertake large amounts of exercise or abuse laxatives to compensate for the amount of food they have consumed. However, binge eaters do not undertake the compensatory activities following a binge although they still have the same feelings of self disgust and guilt.
Diagnosing Binge Eating via Characteristics
There are a number of classic characteristic although like any other illness, each individual case is slightly unique. However, here are examples of the most common symptoms:
– A lack of control during an episode of binge eating. The sufferer often feels as though they cannot stop eating.
– Eating large amounts of food until the patient feels uncomfortable or even sick.
– Eating larger than normal amounts of food during a small space of time, usually within a period of two hours.
Sufferers find that episodes of binge eating are associated with three or more of the following factors:
– Eating food more rapidly than normal
– Eating larger amounts of food even when not physically hungry
– Feelings of depression, guilt or disgust following an overeating episode.
– Feelings of embarrassment when eating so eating alone so ensure the amount of food consumed is secret.
– Feelings of distress regarding binge eating
– Occurrence of binge eating for at least 2 days of a week over a period of at least six months.
– Binge eating is not associated with other inappropriate compensatory behaviour such as vomiting or excessive exercise such as that present in bulimia nervosa.
Warning signs to look out for:
– anxious moods/depression
– sufferer avoiding any social events which involve food
– consumes food to the point of discomfort or even pain
– consuming large amounts of food when not physically hungry
– eating late at night
– eating secretly alone and/or hiding food
– a feeling of no control during a binging episode inability to stop
– eating faster than normal / rapidly without chewing food before swallowing
– hiding/hoarding high calorie junk food
– constant weight fluctuations / rapid weight gain, often obesity
– shame, guilt ad disgust following an episode of binging
– using eating to cope with stress, unhappiness or other psychological/emotional feelings
– eating very large / abnormal portions of food over a short period of time
– associates food with ones failures and successes
– does not use compensatory methods following binging episodes such as vomiting, excessive exercise or abuse of laxatives.