Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India
Binge eating disorder is a newly recognized condition. People with binge eating disorder frequently eat large amounts of food while feeling a loss of control over their eating.
This disorder is different from binge-purge syndrome (bulimia nervosa) because people with binge eating disorder usually do not purge afterward by vomiting or using laxatives. But most people with serious binge eating problems have:
*Frequent episodes of eating what others would consider an abnormally large amount of food.
*Frequent feelings of being unable to control what or how much is being eaten.
Several of these behaviors or feelings:
*Eating much more rapidly than usual.
*Eating until uncomfortably full.
*Eating large amounts of food, even when not physically hungry.
*Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten.
*Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating.
*The binges occur at least twice a week for 6 months.
The major complications of binge eating disorder are the diseases that accompany obesity. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, gall bladder disease, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Out-of-control binge eating is the biggest eating disorder of today more common than anorexia and bulimia combined and contributing to a rise in obesity. Binge eating afflicts 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men at some point in their lives.
Binge eating disorder is a little more common in women than in men; three women for every two men have it.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches people how to keep track of their eating and change their unhealthy eating habits. It also teaches them how to change the way they act in tough situations. Interpersonal psychotherapy helps people look at their relationships with friends and family and make changes in problem areas. Drug therapy, such as antidepressants, may be helpful for some people.
Large amounts of food high in carbohydrates and sugars are rapidly consumed in a short period of time. The binge itself may only last fifteen to twenty minutes. Proper levels of serotonin and dopamine aid in impulse. Proteins supplement may reduce the craving.
Binge eating differs from compulsive overeating in that the binge eater enjoys the rush and stimulation of planning the binge. Compulsive overeaters tend to crave foods high in carbohydrates, sugars, and salt.