While many of us are prone to indulging a little from time to time, especially around the holidays or for special occasions, binge eating disorder is a real problem for others. It can be incredibly dangerous and lead to serious health problems if not treated properly. The good news is, treatment can be very effective and those with the disorder can learn to control their urges and live a healthy life.


So how do you know the difference between overindulging and a binge eating disorder? Those with a binge eating disorder have compulsions to eat enormous amounts of food, all the while feeling as though they are unable to stop. They will continue to eat even after they’ve become full, sometimes for up to two hours at a time. The act of eating can be different than usual, as many people eat so quickly they barely have time to register what they’re tasting. They don’t eat to enjoy the food, they eat to try and deal with stress and anxiety. Major features of binge eating disorder include:


  • Feeling extremely distressed or upset during and/or after a binge eating episode
  • Frequently binge eating in an uncontrollable manner
  • No attempts to diet, exercise, or vomit in order to “make up” for any previous bingeing


It may seem like a common sense response to suggest the person should simply eat less, exercise, or go on a diet, but the answer is not that easy. Despite intense feelings of anger, guilt, disgust, and depression that follow bingeing, the person feels as though they physically cannot stop. This creates a dangerous cycle because those negative emotions that come after binges end up causing more compulsive eating.


To determine whether one is a compulsive eater, look out for these signs. The more signs that appear, the more likely a binge eating disorder may be present.


  • Feeling out of control when eating
  • Thinking about food all the time
  • Eating secretly or in private
  • Eating until feeling sick
  • Eating to escape from stress or worries
  • Feeling ashamed or disgusted after eating
  • Feeling powerless to stop, even if you want to


In addition to long-term binge eating disorder usually leading to obesity, it can also cause many health problems. Some of these include gallbladder disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and sleep apnea. There are many reasons binge eating happen, but often it is because of depression. It can also be caused by anxiety and low self-esteem.


It is possible to overcome binge eating by learning to manage stress, limiting meals to three per day (with healthy snacks), exercising, getting enough sleep, and keeping a food diary, among other things. While some can be managed without, it is recommended to seek professional help because of how complicated the disorder can be.


Dealing with any addiction is difficult. Contact Treatment Now today for professional help with any questions involving addiction and recovery.

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