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Do You Have Binge Eating Disorder?

Updated on April 14, 2015

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

People suffering from Bulimia eat and then purge their food, while binge eaters usually do not purge at all.

Binge eating is defined as consuming copious amounts of food, at least twice per week, followed by feelings of being out of control. Curious mixtures of raw meat, stale leftovers are consumed in a two hour period. While bulimia and anorexia mainly affect women, binge eaters are split between the sexes nearly 50:50.

You may not have any obvious physical signs, or you could be obese. You will, however, exhibit behavioural or emotional symptoms such as:

Depression - A high number of binge eaters are depressed or have been depressed in the past. This is exacerbated as you feel disgusted, ashamed or guilty about the eating.

Dieting - perhaps for many years, without permanent weight loss.

Lack of emotional Coping skills - and the emotional extremes such as anger, sadness, boredom or stress trigger a binge.

Substance Abuse - long term abuse of Alcohol

Feel Isolated - yet may miss work, or social activities to binge eat.

Eating Habits :

Eat a large amount of food, any food they can get their hands on, even when not hungry.

Eat alone, rapidly and continue until they are uncomfortably full - do this at least twice per week for over six months.

Eating Disorders

I have a friend with the eating disorder called bulimia and although she has been under medical care for six months, and is doing extremely well, her past constant purging after each meal has taken its toll on her body. The acid reflux from purging does permanent damage to soft tissue of the esophagus

More often people have the disorder called binge eating, the effects of which can be equally disturbing if not addressed. The numbers of known binge eaters are three times greater than anorexia and bulimia figures together.

Stop Binge Eating

Eating disorders are compensatory and/or compulsive disorders and should be managed by both medical and psychiatric doctors

In other words, changing your diet isn't likely to be successful unless you truly understand the emotional components behind the overeating.

The American Society of Psychiatrists state that people with one of the three eating disorders, have the highest rate of suicide - which should be enough to encourage you seek help?

In order to get from what was

to what will be,

you must go through what is.


Binge Eating Disorder

Male Binge Eating

Statistics of binge eating disorder (BED) has become both an emotional and health concern for men in the United States. This eating disorder, which affects around eight million men and women in America, nearly half of which are men, according to the Binge Eating Disorder Association, is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disorder of its own.

As eating disorders are thought to be a female disorder, males are often reluctant to admit they are in trouble and need help, thinking they can manage the disorder on their own. Most treatment and support groups are designed for females and men feel uncomfortable in discussions about the lack of menstrual periods.

There is also the thought that as society is more accepting of males who overeat and are overweight, than they are of women who over eat, male binge eaters are less likely to be spotted by friends and family. The problem is exacerbated as men also tend not to see binge eating as a problem.

  • Common characteristics of men who have BED are overweight and sedentary with a history of depression.
  • Low assertiveness and poor self-esteem and as with the other eating disorders, food controls their lives in order to compensate for their lack of control in other areas.
  • For these men, food can be a potent sedative and means of expressing feelings of anger, guilt, depression and sadness, which in turns adds to another cycle.

Although the pathophysiological mechanism of binge eating is poorly understood, many people report stress to be a significant trigger.

Can Someone with Binge Eating Disorder get Better?

Yes, without a doubt, they can. Let this answer give you the courage to talk about your feelings, and seek help from your health care professional.

Binge eating does not get better by itself, and it can become a severe health problem if left untreated. Even if, you have become expert at hiding your disorder from your loved ones, have the strength to tell them what you are going through and enlist their help to find a qualified mental health provider and doctor.

If you have binge eating disorder, you may gain weight which could lead to obesity which raises the Risk of :


High blood pressure and Cholesterol levels,

Gallbladder or heart disease,


Joint and/or Muscle pain,

some types of cancer


Plus you need medical help with your anxiety and depression - which must be treated in order to make progress in the other areas.

How to Stop Binge Eating once and for all

Alternative Therapies for Eating Disorders

As alternative therapies tend to treat the whole person, they will be supportive (but not instead of), the medical assistance discussed above.

Before embarking on alternative therapies, discuss them with your Doctor and with the alternative therapist.

Acupuncture, although there is no proof, appears to ease the symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Aromatherapy essential oils assist the achievement of vitality and health, massage is a part of this therapy.

Ayurveda - will enhance your psychotherapy as it helps you to find a balance. A bad food day can be balanced with a cleansing diet the next day. You and your consciousness are involved in the process rather than focusing on the idea of perfection, which is not achievable.

Write about your Life:

To help yourself, start journaling to enhance your awareness about your feelings and behaviours.

Above all, be kind to yourself, stay connected to those that care for you, and don't skip any therapy sessions.

“Change is the essence of life.

Be willing to surrender what you are,

for what you could become.”

How to Stop Binge Eating

What sort of Treatment will I Obtain?

As binge eating is intertwined with negative emotions, these must be addressed after your physical health has been assessed. You may have one on one treatment, or take part in group therapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may be used to help you assess your triggers and then learn how to cope with them in a healthier more productive way.

Depending on the area which needs help, you may also have psychotherapy to improve your relations and emotional reactions to other people.


Perhaps anti-depressants or appetite suppressants may be prescribed. However, weight-loss programs aren't recommended until the eating disorder is treated. They are then followed only under medical supervision, as a low calorie diet can trigger binge eating.

Ask about physical activity that is suitable for you. Nurture yourself with walks, yoga or meditation.

© 2012 Shelley Watson


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    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      zionsphere, Thank you for visiting and sharing with us. You points on portion size, and society's acceptance of foisting what is unacceptable health wise on people would make this addiction hard to manage. Thank you for your feedback and I would enjoy reading your blog!

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 5 years ago from Oregon

      Yes, I do. I can't say I have ever eaten raw meat, but I do eat food until I am painfully full. I am an emotional eater.

      I appreciate this article. Many people don't like to talk about it, and I don't understand why. Binge eating is so hard to cure. Unlike other substances, you can just obstain from eating. It's also easier to get addicted to food than any other substance, simply because it is such an integral part of society. You can abuse it at any age withut breaking any laws, and it is encouraged as a social activity. Resturants deliberately serve portions well beyond what should be consumed in a healthy diet, and unhealthy snack foods are easily accessible, and ecconomical.

      I practice cognitive behavorial therapy, but I'm afraid I don't use it much in regard to my addiction to food. Journaling is a good idea. I may start a new blog.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Stars439, Thank you for visiting, I'm so glad to see your name again!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Interesting information. Thank you, and GBY.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Wonderful hub about a terrible disease. I really like your suggestions for alternative treatments

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks! I just finished reading it. It's amazing and I'm sure that it is emotionally charged for these men, as it is for women and anorexia. Thanks again.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Denise Handlon, I have updated the hub now making it more relevant in regards to the male binge eaters.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Denise Handlon, thank you for visiting - I mentioned it at the end of the third paragraph under heading "What is Binge Eating Disorder".

      I had a nasty visit to the dentist today and brain fade kicked in. I will add to the hub as I did want to expand on the male side of the disorder. Thank you for reminding me and the votes.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting hub. I actually followed it from the forum thread and was intrigued that 50% were men...however, I do not see that stated in this hub. If I missed it, please tell me where it is, as I feel this is a very important fact. I had no clue that men were as afflicted with this compulsion. Rated Up and U

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      shiningirisheyes I was going to visit you, Beckie this weekend, as I have missed you and wondered what was wrong. Now that I know, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for the visit, it is great to see you name in lights again.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Be proud of this important hub, which shines a much needed light on this disease.

      So many are afflicted with an eating disorder and, surprisingly many do not realize the harmful and fatal results that can come with it.