Binge eating is going to become an actual diagnosis in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition). ‘It is characterized by compulsive overeating’. Binge eating is different from other eating disorders like bulimia, because there’s no penance for the binge whereas with bulimia either there will be fasting, excessive exercise, or vomiting to make up for the excess of Calories consumed.
Some identifying markers of binge eating include:
· Binges that last several hours to a day.
· Stress and feelings of being upset during the binge or after.
· The targeted population is usually late teens throughout early adulthood.
Additional Symptoms of Binge Eating and The Cycle
Clients may find comfort in binge eating for the time being and use it as a control mechanism for stress, depression, boredom, etc. It is then followed by regret, obesity and/or weight gain and the cycle repeats itself.
Additional information from Helpguide.org identifies additional symptoms of the condition.
Behavioral symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating
- Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
- Rapidly eating large amounts of food
- Eating even when you’re full
- Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
- Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
- Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes
Emotional symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating
- Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating
- Embarrassment over how much you’re eating
- Feeling numb while bingeing—like you’re not really there or you’re on auto-pilot.
- Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat
- Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating
- Desperation to control weight and eating habits
Signs of binge eating disorder
Ask yourself the following questions. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you have binge eating disorder.
- Do you feel out of control when you’re eating?
- Do you think about food all the time?
- Do you eat in secret?
- Do you eat until you feel sick?
- Do you eat to escape from worries, relieve stress, or to comfort yourself?
- Do you feel disgusted or ashamed after eating?
- Do you feel powerless to stop eating, even though you want to?
In part two we will discuss additional causes and replacement coping mechanisms for binge eating.