Most of us have a tendency to overeat from time to time – whether it’s stuffing ourselves at the family holiday dinner or getting seconds and thirds of that delicious food when we’re already full. People with binge eating disorder (BED), on the other hand, overeat on a regular basis and do not have the ability to control their urges to binge.
The Difference between Healthy and Unhealthy Eating
According to the National Eating Disorder Association, binge eating affects up to five percent of the U.S. population.
Symptoms of BED
- Sporadic, frequent and uncontrolled episodes of binge eating
- Secretive behavior regarding overeating
- Feelings of shame, depression, guilt and remorse following binge eating
- An inability to control one’s eating before and during episodes
Breaking through the Stereotypes
Another obstacle in identifying BED in a loved one is the many misconceptions people hold in their minds about eating disorders in general. At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, one of our primary goals is to educate patients, their friends and their family members about the realities of BED, while debunking the prevalent myths:
Binge Eaters are Always Obese
While weight gain and obesity are certainly linked to BED, a person’s natural metabolism in addition to several other biological factors also impacts weight. People with BED can be, and often are, of average weight and size.
BED is a Female Issue
Although women are 20% more likely to suffer from BED than men, males are still incredibly vulnerable to this disorder. BED doesn’t discriminate. Women are generally linked to eating disorders more than their male counterparts, but this has nothing to do with one gender having a higher or lower vulnerability level.
People With BED Can Just Stop Overeating
If it were possible for binge eaters to put a stop to their overeating, most would do it. Individuals suffering from BED are aware of their behaviors and often feel great shame and embarrassment when they overeat and worry about the impact on their bodies. The condition is less about willpower than it is about a person’s response to adverse situations and dysfunctional thought patterns.
Once it is determined that you or a loved one is suffering from BED, immediate steps must be taken to improve the condition. There are several potential biological, social and psychological causes of BED; without determining the cause, finding effective treatment strategies becomes very difficult. At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, our approach to BED treatment mirrors our addiction care strategy in that we focus on the patient, not just their immediate condition, in order to identify what may have caused their disorder and to therefore form an individualized plan to treat the patient.
Physical Risks of BED
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- High Cholesterol
- Gallbladder Disease
- Sleep Apnea
- Joint and Muscle Pain
Our clinical professionals are well trained in the diagnosis and treatment of BED, and can offer individualized service to each patient. The program includes a full physical and psychological evaluation, group and individual counseling and a wide range of therapies.
We strive to help patients confront and defeat their mental illness while we empower them by integrating nutrition and fitness into their lives.