Binge Eating Disorder Treatment – Signs and Remedies Available

Binge eating disorder (BED) is an “expressive disorder”, which means that the condition is rather an expression of an already existing deeper mental problem. It is presently placed under the category of “Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)” in DSM-IV, implying that further research is required on this subject.

DSM-IV stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and followed by the doctors in this country as it includes all the currently recognized mental health disorders, their diagnosis and treatment procedures.

It is a psychiatric disorder which compels a person to eat large amounts of food rapidly within a short amount of time. They are totally out of control and mindless about the amount of food they are eating. The binges are short lived and followed by emotions of shame, guilt and embarrassment. The condition has far deeper implications mentally and psychologically than physiologically.

This condition is a major risk factor for obesity with an estimated four million people (3.5 percent women and 2 percent men) being affected by it in the United States. It is prevalent in 10-15 percent of mildly obese people and in 30 percent of individuals seeking weight loss treatment. Women are twice at risk of developing this condition than men.

How are BED and obesity related?

It is a form of compulsive overeating which can cause an individual to consume large amounts of calories within a short amount of time. Firstly, BED essentially involves consuming comfort food which is not healthy. Foods high in sugar and fat are consumed in huge quantities. BED can result in a person consuming a day or two’s worth of calories in one go. It could be something to the tune of 2000-3000 calories.

BED is often followed with damage control measures like fasting, purging, intense workouts etc. But it is very difficult to negate the effects of so many calories. The result is an increase in weight. Eating disorders over a period of time can lead to permanent weight gain or obesity. The person’s metabolic rate or BMR is badly affected and the associated risks of serious health problems are given an open invitation. Every year about 350,000 people die due to obesity related morbid reasons in the United States.

What Causes Binge Eating Disorder?

The reasons behind this disorder are not exactly known. The following might be the possible reasons:
Depression: People who are depressed are more likely to binge. It might also work vice-versa where people who binge eat might also feel depressed
Negative emotions: In order to cope with negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, boredom, worry – people turn to food for comfort.
Dieting: People who skip meals or follow unhealthy diets may binge eat. Fad diets and binge eating may possibly be related.
Emotional problems: People with impulsive behavior, who do not feel in charge, people with alcohol related problems are likely to binge.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Unfortunately no one knows the causes for this condition. Nearly 50 percent of patients developing this condition suffered from depression in the past. But no link between depression and BED is found to exist yet. Signs to watch out for are:

  • No control over the amount of food consumed
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Sudden onset of obesity
  • Depression
  • Eating when bored
  • Eating in a hurry
  • Negative feeling about food
  • Eating large quantity of food when not hungry at all
  • Eating alone to avoid embarrassment
  • Eating alone to avoid discovery of the disorder
  • Eating until a feeling of nausea and discomfort is experienced

Risks associated with Binge Eating disorder

Those who are obese and suffer from this condition might have the following risks:

  • Gallbladder disease
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain types of cancer

What is the Binge Eating Disorder Treatment?

Irrespective of the motive, people suffering from BDE must seek medical help. This includes people with normal or average weight, overweight or obese individuals.

  • Regular counseling from psychiatrists and psychologists has been found to be beneficial in resolving 80 percent of cases.
  • Unfortunately, this disorder is nor included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and thus not covered by insurance agencies.
  • Most of the physicians are unaware and misdiagnose the signs of this disorder as several eating disorders have symptoms which mimic each other.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, drug therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy are some of the treatment options available presently. Researchers are on the look out of most efficient therapies of this disorder. The use of intra-nasal naloxone is the latest in binge eating disorder treatment whose results will be published in 2011.

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