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Is Binge Eating an Eating Disorder?

Even though it is relatively a new recognition, binge eating is one of the eating disorders that afflict many individuals today. Binge eating disorder is basically characterized by repetitive episodes of compulsive overeating.

Recognizing a Binge Eating Disorder

Overeating once in a while is quite normal. Perhaps you found yourself going back to the buffet table three times during a Thanksgiving party. Or, perhaps you managed to finish a whole box of pizza by yourself during one weekend. So, when does overeating become a binge eating disorder? Even though the line between the two is still being debated over by health experts, there are already some common symptoms that can help you determine if you suffer from binge eating. One of them is overeating, not just once in a while, but on a regular basis.

You may also have an eating disorder if your overeating is caused by emotional triggers instead of hunger. Chances are you also eat long after you are full. Most importantly, you suffer from negative feelings such as guilt, depression, powerlessness and frustration, while and after you eat. If these situations apply to you, then you are possibly addicted to food. Food addiction is basically what is behind binge eating.

Causes of Binge Eating

The direct cause of binge eating is yet to be known. However, there is no doubt that emotions and psychological issues are directly related to this eating disorder. When you are addicted to food, you basically resemble an alcoholic who is addicted to drinking. Most factors that can trigger your binge eating are probably emotional ones, such as depression, boredom, loneliness or stress. Needless to say, frequent episodes of binge eating can ultimately result in weight gain or obesity. Unfortunately, this weight gain only leads to a vicious cycle. Since you are depressed about the weight you have put on, you turn to food in order to make yourself feel better.

Binge eating can also be caused by cultural or social factors. For instance, if your parents constantly offered you food when you were little as a way to reward or entertain you, then there is a high possibility that you may carry these habits well into adulthood.

How to Treat Binge Eating

Once you have determined that you have a binge eating disorder, it's important to address your condition as early as possible to avoid serious consequences. One thing you can do is to look for healthier ways to cope with negative emotions - ways that are not related to eating. Take up a hobby, enroll in a dance or yoga class or go cycling around the neighborhood to take your mind off stress.

If you feel that your disorder is already severe or that you might not be able to handle your condition by yourself, then you might want to seek professional help. There are now various types of therapy that are designed to address eating disorders like binge eating.

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