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Binge-Eating Disorder

What is binge-eating disorder?

Binge-eating disorder is a common and serious mental health condition, just like Anorexia or Bulimia. It can affect all kinds of people, no matter their age, gender or cultural background. Unlike Anorexia or Bulimia, Binge-Eating Disorder is not associated with compensatory behaviours like exercising a lot post-binge or forcing oneself to throw up.

Characteristics of binge-eating disorder:

– eating a lot of food (more than what would be considered usual for a meal) in a small space of time (for example: two hours)
– frequently binging
– feeling a loss of control when eating, and unable to stop
– a sense of guilt or shame around eating habits
– very specific eating habits (like eating really fast or eating even when full, to the point where it’s physically unpleasant)
– secret eating (due to feelings of shame or guilt someone with BED might eat only when they’re alone)

Binge-eating episodes usually occur when someone is stressed, emotional, lonely or bored. These kinds of eating behaviour are  often used as a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult life situations.

Why do people suffer from binge-eating disorder?

Just like Anorexia and Bulimia, Binge-eating Disorder is a mental health issue and those with this condition will usually have underlying psychological issues (for instance anxiety or depression) which are strongly linked to their eating behaviours. Like all other mental health conditions, the causes can often be complex and difficult to pinpoint.

Stress, family issues, poor self-esteem, grief, loss or abuse can contribute to the onset of mental health issues like binge-eating disorder.

Click here to read more about the warning signs of Binge-Eating Disorder & other info by the National Eating Disorder Collaboration. Their website has loads of info on getting help, as well as info on all kinds of eating disorders – we highly recommend taking a look.

Is it possible to recover from binge-eating disorder?

Yes. But it will take time, effort and a considered approach. With the help of a trained professional you will be able to unpack the different causes of the condition and also develop a plan that suits you, and your needs. Finding the right treatment plan is really important as it will help to prevent the possibility of a relapse.

Getting help

If you think that you might have an eating disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. Your GP will be able to help and refer you to a specialist who helps people overcome conditions like this all the time. Check out our post on ‘Going to the Doctor on Your Own’ for more info on making an appointment and finding a doctor that suit you or visit the  National Eating Disorder Collaboration website for more information on help in your local area.

Beyond Blue is another free, confidential counselling service, with trained professionals available to talk through your situation.

Click here for a list of Support Services.