Overeating vs. Binge Eating Disorder; Where Is the Line?

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Overeating is a common tendency for many individuals, such as having a second helping of a particularly delicious dinner or opting for a second piece of cake at a special event. However, overeating may become a problem when people:

  • Eat alone or in secret due to embarrassment.
  • Obsess about eating constantly.
  • Cannot control the obsession .
  • Eat until being uncomfortably full.
  • Feel guilty and distressed after eating.

These symptoms are the symptoms for Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Many binge eaters overlook these symptoms, blaming them on circumstance or other factors outside of their control, but by doing so, delay getting the help they desperately need in order to prevent BED from controlling their lives. By realizing you have BED, you can seek the help you need and take the first step towards improving your quality of life.

BED has common characteristics and symptoms, but it manifests differently in each affected individual; each person’s experience with BED is unique. About two thirds of all Americans are overweight, but not all of them have binge eating disorder. Conversely, not all binge eaters are overweight. According to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration, BED involves two key features, which include eating a very large amount of food within a short period of time, and feeling loss of control while this eating behavior is occurring. This definition does not apply to all cases of binge eating, because a “binge” is different for every individual. A binge for one person could be a hearty meal for another. In order to meet the clinical diagnostic criteria a binge eater also, on average, must experience binges every week and several times a week for at least three months. 

What is the cause of Binge Eating Disorder?  While unknown, it is real a medical disorder and is treated with medication in order for symptoms to significantly improve; willpower is not a cure for BED. If you or a loved one is hiding their binges from any of these symptoms, call the Institute of Advanced Medical Research at 770-817-9200 today for more information.