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Chopra Center for Wellbeing
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Binge eating is a newly recognized eating disorder, first officially recognized in 1992. Binge eating is defined as frequently eating large quantities of food without self control and followed by extreme shame, guilt and embarrassment. Unlike those afflicted with bulimia, people with a binge eating disorder eat do not purge their food. Frequently they will eat in secret and will continue to eat even when they're not hungry. Binge eating is not just the occasional over indulgence in food but a regular, consistent compulsion to eat until physically ill.
It is important to know that binge eating can also occur as a response to self-starvation or anorexia, and it can occur as a step along the path of healing bulimia.
Often times, binge eaters suffer from depression, but it is unclear whether the depression causes the overeating or whether the lack of self-control causes the depression. The most common health risk in binge eating is those symptoms closely associated with obesity.
Other health risks include:
Binge eating is the most common eating disorder with over four million Americans suffering from the disorder. Unlike bulimia and anorexia, there are also a higher percentage of men who binge eat. Nearly 60% of binge eaters are still women, but surprisingly 40% of those who have the condition are men.
Binge eating has a level of shame associated with the disease. Treatment is not as frequently sought because the binge eater often believes she just needs to "get control" of her eating issues. She will often believe that her obesity and health problems are her fault. Treating binge eating is almost always done on an out-patient level:
It's promising to note that most people who suffer from binge eating disorder can do well in treatment and overcome its symptoms. The first step is asking for help ? don't let yourself be trapped by feelings of shame and secrecy!