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A Look at Binge Eating

A Look at Binge Eating

  • Admin
  • Jun 11, 2018

The word "binge" means doing something to excess in a short period of time. For example, if you binge drink or binge eat, it's normally not viewed as a good thing. However, there is not necessarily cause for alarm if you binge eat every once in a while. Here is a look at this type of eating. How do you know you have a problem? What can you do about it, and should you seek medical help?

The Definition of Binge Eating

Is it binge eating if you eat an entire package of Oreos in 30 minutes? What if you eat a party-sized bag of Doritos in 30 minutes? Both the Oreos and the Doritos?

The answer is that the above situations do describe binge eating because the average person would not eat these big portions in 30 minutes or even two hours. Of course, in a technical sense, binge eating is just eating excessively in a short period of time. If you do this type of thing occasionally and it is not part of a larger pattern, then you might not have cause for worry.

How Often You Binge Eat

Binge eating becomes a true problem if the bingeing episodes occur closely together. In a nutshell: You may have a binge eating disorder if you binge eat at least once weekly for at least three months. You may also have feelings of shame, guilt or disgust about your eating and eat excessively and quickly even when you are not hungry. When you eat with other people, you might consume more food than they do.

There are degrees of binge eating. For example, extreme cases are when people binge eat at least 14 times a week, while people who have mild cases binge one, two or three times a week. Binge eaters do not use methods such as throwing up to try to compensate for the bingeing.

When Binge Eating Is a Problem

Binge eating can be a real issue for people of all weight levels. It's no fun feeling ashamed about your eating and feeling like you have to hide it. In addition, binge eating problems often lead to other health issues related to digestion, sleeping and weight, among others.

If you suspect you are a binge eater, that's a good reason to seek medical help. A doctor can make recommendations for your specific situation, and treatments tend to include cognitive behavioral therapy, medications and lifestyle changes. There may also be the need to treat co-occurring disorders such as depression. Many times, binge eating is a symptom of a larger issue such as boredom, some kind of trauma or dissatisfaction with life.

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/binge-eating-disorder-medref#1

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed

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