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Emotional Eating | Binge Eating Disorder

Everyone overeats on occasion. But some people lose control while eating. It becomes a regular occurrence; a way to deal with emotions. It might cross the line to Binge Eating Disorder. Binge Eating Disorder affects people of all shapes and sizes. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA):

Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States affecting more people than anorexia or bulimia.

Symptoms of Emotional Eating / Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge-eating disorder lose control over their eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S. From the National Institute of Mental Health:

Binge eating is diagnosed when a person eats a large amount of food in a short period of time and feels a loss of control. And additionally a meets 3 of the following:

  • eating rapidly
  • beyond fullness
  • eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
  • feeling disgusted, sad or guilty afterward
  • eating large amounts of food when not hungry

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Signs of Emotional Eating / Binge Eating Disorder

Emotional and behavioral signs your loved one may have Binge Eating Disorder according to the National Eating Disorder Association:

  • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food.
  • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
  • Any new practice with food or fad diets, including cutting out entire food groups (no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, vegetarianism/veganism)
  • Fear of eating in public or with others
  • Steals or hoards food in strange places
  • Creates lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge sessions
  • Withdraws from usual friends and activities
  • Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten
  • Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Feelings of low self-esteem

Possible Causes of Emotional Eating / Binge Eating Disorder

Factors that may increase your risk of binge eating include: (nhs.uk)

  • Having low self-esteem and a lack of confidence
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Feelings of stress, anger, boredom or loneliness
  • Dissatisfaction with your body and feeling pressure to be thin
  • Stressful or traumatic events in your past
  • Family history of eating disorders

Choices’ providers specializing in Emotional Eating / Binge Eating Disorder:

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