A binge or bulimia is any behavior indulged to excess. Binge eating is eating large amounts of food over a short period of time
“When a person eats a much larger amount of food in a shorter period of time than he or she normally would is referred to as Binge eating. During binge eating, the person also feels a loss of control.”
A binge eater often eats 5,000 – 15,000 calories in one sitting; habitually eats in between snacks (in addition to three meals a day), eat too much in a day, rather than simply consuming large amounts of food during binges
Binge eating may occur on its own or in the circumstance of an eating disorder, such as bulimia. People with bulimia typically eat large amounts of high-calorie foods secretly. After this binge eating, they usually force themselves to vomit to release their food intake. Binge eating by itself usually leads to becoming overweight.
The cause of binge eating is unidentified, thus it often begins during or after strict dieting. Visit your health care provider if you feel you have a pattern of binge eating or bulimia. Health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your eating patterns and symptoms. Blood tests may be done. Medication is usually not needed for this disorder. However, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants if you are anxious or depressed.
Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy is recommended, it is based on the core idea that talking about the things that are bothering you can help clarify them and put them in perspective. Some talk therapists follow a specific school of thought, such as cognitive theory or behaviorism. Others use a more eclectic approach, drawing techniques and principles from several different theories. Individual, group, family, and behavioral therapy may help.
Biofeedback training may also be recommended. Biofeedback is the process of becoming aware of various physiological functions using instruments that provide information on the activity of those same systems, with a goal of being able to manipulate them at will. Processes that can be controlled include brainwaves, muscle tone, skin conductance, heart rate and pain perception.
Biofeedback may be used to improve health or performance, and the physiological changes often occur in conjunction with changes to thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Eventually, these changes can be maintained without the use of extra equipment.
Signs of a Binge Eating Problem
Someone with a binge eating problem might:
- binge eat more than twice a week for 6 months or more
- eat much more rapidly than normal
- eat until uncomfortably full
- eat large amounts of food even when not hungry
- eat alone because of embarrassment
- feel disgusted, depressed, embarrassed, ashamed, angry, or guilty after a binge eating episode
- gain weight excessively
It seems hard to reach out for help for many people with binge eating problems, because of the shame that the public places on overeating and being overweight. Many don’t take action for binge eating until they’re become adults who are in the process of losing weight. The younger you wish to end this problem the possible it can be.
Professional doctors, counselors, and nutritionist can help those with eating disorders manage their eating, weight, and feelings. People with eating disorders need professional help because problems like binge eating often caused by brain chemistry and other things that seem beyond someone’s control.
Healthy eating behaviors, nutritional needs, portion sizes, metabolism, and exercise can be learned with the help of Nutrition specialists or dietitians. They also can help design an eating plan that’s specially designed for someone’s needs and help the person stick with it and make progress.
Unlike a problem with drugs or alcohol where part of the treatment is avoiding the substance altogether, people still have to eat. This can make it harder for someone with a binge eating problem to overcome it because the temptation to overeat is always there. So part of dealing with a binge eating disorder is learning how to have a healthy relationship with food.
Psychologists and other therapists can help people learn healthy ways of coping with emotions, thoughts, stress, and other things that might contribute to someone’s eating problem.
Sometimes certain family members can help by talking with the person and his or her therapist about shared eating patterns, feelings (and beliefs about how feelings should be expressed), and family relationships. This might help someone examine how certain eating patterns might be influenced by family — and to change the patterns that aren’t healthy.
Depending on what’s behind someone’s binge eating, doctors may prescribe medications along with therapy and nutrition advice.
People with binge eating disorder may find it helpful to surround themselves with supportive family members and friends. It’s best to avoid people who make negative comments about eating or weight because they can add to someone’s feelings of self-criticism, making matters worse.
Another thing that can help build self-confidence and take a person’s mind off eating is trying a new extracurricular activity or hobby. Finding a way to express feelings, such as through music, art, dance, or writing, also can help someone deal with difficult emotions in a healthy way.
As with any eating disorder, there is no quick fix for binge eating. Treatment can take several months or longer while someone learns a healthier approach to food. But with the right guidance, commitment, and practice, it is possible to overcome old habits and replace them with healthier behaviors.
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