Monday, December 4, 2006

Binge eating disorder FAQ

How are obesity and binge eating disorder related?
Binge eating disorder or overeating is a psychologically conditioned eating disorder characterized by periods of uncontrollable eating. Overeating usually results in obesity (excessive accumulation of body fat). Thus, people who suffer from binge eating disorder are usually overweight.

How common is binge eating disorder?
Generally speaking, binge eating disorder is one of the most common eating disorders. Obese as well as normal people can be affected. Obese people with binge eating disorder often became overweight at a younger age than those without the disorder. Binge eating disorder affects 2% of all adults. It is about 1 million to 2 million Americans.
Binge eating disorder is more common among women (about 3 women to 2 men). As regards ethnic groups, it affects blacks as often as whites.

What causes binge eating disorder?
Depression, anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety and other negative emotions or psychological problems can trigger a binge episode. Also strict dieting may worsen binge eating in some people. Scientists also try to find out how brain chemicals and metabolism affect binge eating disorder.

Should people with binge eating disorder try to diet?
Since strict dieting may worsen binge eating, people mildly obese people better avoid dieting. Thought severely obese people probably should lose weight and keep it off.

What are the complications of binge eating disorder?
All kinds of diseases that accompany obesity, i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder disease, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

What are treatments for people with binge eating disorder?
Researchers try to determine which method or combination of methods is the most effective in treating binge eating disorder. There are several of them. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients techniques to monitor and change their eating habits. Interpersonal psychotherapy helps people examine their relationships with friends and family. For some sufferers medications such as antidepressants may be helpful. Self-help groups also may be a source of support. It is important you realize that you are not alone as most people who try to cope with the problem on their own are not a success.

How does one know if he has binge eating disorder?
Simply ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do you eat until you are uncomfortably full?
  • Do you feel disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating?
  • Do you have frequent feelings of being unable to control what or how much is being eaten?
  • Do you eat much more rapidly than usual?
  • Do you eat large amounts of food, even when not physically hungry?
Most people who have positive answers to these questions do suffer from binge eating disorder. Consult a specialist if your answer is "yes".

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