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Signs You May Be Suffering From a Binge Eating Disorder

Food has a constant presence in our lives. We use it to celebrate, and we need it to survive. Because of its omnipresence, it can be difficult to clearly define one’s relationship with food. When this relationship turns unhealthy—as is the case with Eating Disorders such as Binge Eating Disorder—it is important to be able to recognize the signs. 

Binge Eating Disorder is a psychological condition, but it also has numerous emotional and physical symptoms. Knowing all the signs of this Eating Disorder helps you identify the problem and seek clinical intervention from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Pursuing evidence-based treatment with a therapist who has experience with Binge Eating Disorder and its symptoms allows you to address the root issues behind the disorder and achieve effective change. Read on to learn more about the most common signs that you are suffering from a Binge Eating Disorder. 

What Is Binge Eating Disorder? 

Binge Eating Disorder shares many characteristics with other Eating Disorders. It involves a complex and unhealthy relationship with food, diet, weight, and self-image. However, Binge Eating Disorder does not receive as much attention, discussion, and media representation as Bulimia and Anorexia do, which means many people have misconceptions about it. 

Bulimia and Anorexia involve starvation, excessive exercise, using laxatives, and similar behaviors to lessen food intake or purge after meals. Binge Eating, on the other hand, involves overeating without the use of purging behaviors. For many individuals with this disorder, bingeing is an attempt to relieve stress, cope with negative thoughts or emotions, or gain some control over life. However, Binge Eating Disorder does not bring comfort or control. Instead, it results in worsening negative thoughts and feelings, dangerous physical health complications, and an increased addiction to overeating and other numbing behaviors. 

Periods of Overeating 

Overeating is the most common sign you may be suffering from a Binge Eating Disorder. Overeating involves eating much more than a typical healthy portion in a single sitting. It also involves eating rapidly—usually while alone.  

It is important to note that overeating is not a bad thing in and of itself. Everyone overeats at some point in their life. Consider occasions such as Thanksgiving dinner, for example. Food plays a big role in gatherings and celebrations, and the occasional act of overindulgence is not unhealthy. Instead, the problem stems from using overeating as a way to hide from negative thoughts and feelings. 

Ignoring Hunger and Fullness 

Someone with healthy eating habits eats when they are hungry and stops when they are full. With Binge Eating Disorder, these markers do not define when you eat—the thoughts and emotions at the root of your disorder do. You eat because you are upset, stressed, or even bored, which means you are eating even when you are not hungry. It also means you keep eating until you are uncomfortably full. Because the desire to eat comes from emotions rather than physical sensations, it is even harder to quit overeating and follow healthier food and nutritional habits. 

Eating With Discretion 

Many people with Eating Disorders try to avoid eating in public or in front of others. This discretion comes from feelings of embarrassment or guilt about their eating habits, which in turn leads to the fear of judgment or interference from other people.  

With Binge Eating Disorder, the shame of overeating—or shame surrounding your weight and self-image—can make you reluctant to enjoy meals with others. You might avoid family dinners or decline invitations to go out to eat or attend social events that involve food. You might also schedule your meals to occur when no one else is around.  

Intense and Harmful Negative Emotions 

When someone with a Binge Eating Disorder overeats, they do so because they feel an overwhelming amount of stress, guilt, shame, grief, worthlessness, or other painful emotions. Many people with Binge Eating Disorders know on some level that they have a problem, but instead of trying to fix it with a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, some hide the issue and live their lives surrounded by these negative feelings. 

The relationship between these negative feelings and binge eating creates a harmful cycle. Intense feelings of dread, stress, or worthlessness push someone to binge in an attempt to relieve stress or gain some element of control over their current state. In the aftermath, feelings of shame and guilt about overeating itself appear, intensifying the negative state that led to the binge in the first place. It creates dangerous habits that are hard to break out of, which is why it is critical to seek intervention and treatment from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. 

Weight Fluctuation 

Like many types of Eating Disorders, Binge Eating Disorder causes unhealthy weight fluctuation. Typically, this Eating Disorder results in weight gain. Binge Eating Disorders can lead to obesity and other related physical health problems. These issues also exacerbate the feelings of shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem that come with Binge Eating Disorders. 

The weight gain and risk of obesity can also cause other physical signs and symptoms, including stomach issues and cardiovascular issues. 

Stomach Pain and Other Gastrointestinal Problems 

Overeating without prioritizing proper nutrients and portion sizes leads to many gastrointestinal problems, including stomach and abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. You might also feel fatigue and have trouble sleeping as a result of these effects. Binge eating can also lead to acid reflux and heartburn. In severe and long-term cases, Binge Eating Disorder can cause irritable bowel syndrome, chronic stomach pain, or even lead to a stomach rupture. 

Cardiovascular Concerns 

Heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other related issues can all stem from overeating and obesity. Being overweight or having a high percentage of body fat puts stress on your heart and makes it harder for blood to flow efficiently through your body. Binge Eating Disorder can also cause problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness. It also increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other severe cardiovascular issues. 

Find Clinical Intervention at Blair Wellness Group 

Binge Eating Disorder is a serious Mental Health Illness that requires professional treatment to address the mental, emotional, and physical effect it has on your life. That is why it is important to find a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has experience treating this and other Eating Disorders. If you are looking for a therapist for Eating Disorders in Orange County and the surrounding areas, turn to Blair Wellness Group. Take the first step toward better control and better health when you book your appointment with us today. 

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