The Key Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

While every counsellor in Canterbury may deal with a variety of eating disorders each and every day, binge eating disorder remains a subject of taboo for much of the public. The reason being that as most people are occasionally guilty of getting well and truly carried away with how much they eat, it is natural to fall into the trap of assuming that frequent binge eating isn’t necessarily problematic.

In reality, however, binge eating disorder is not only real, but can have an extremely detrimental effect on the life and the health of the individual affected.  What separates a true disorder from occasional binge eating habits is that in the case of the former, the urge to eat excessively can be both overwhelming and constant. Not only this, but when the affected individual binges on food, doing so can trigger devastating feelings of anger, depression and embarrassment.  And of course, the effects such binges can have on their health can be nothing short of catastrophic.

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This is precisely why it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of the kinds of binge eating problems that require professional intervention.  Specific warning signs and indicators vary considerably from one person to the next, though should any of the following be detected or suspected, it is worth considering a consultation just to be sure:

  1. Perhaps the single most common, obvious and indicative sign of this particular eating disorder is the tendency to eat what most would consider excessively large amounts of food. This is particularly the case when and where large quantities of food are consumed outside regular meal times or when the individual in question clearly isn’t hungry.
  2. Those suffering from a binge eating disorders generally find that they have little to no control over how they eat, when they eat or what they choose to eat. Instead, they know that there are certain things they should be eating and have every intention not to binge eat, though find themselves doing so anyway.
  3. While most people will from time to time eat too much to such a point where they find themselves uncomfortable, habitual binge eaters will almost always continue eating until they physically cannot eat another bite.
  4. The speed at which a person eats can also be indicative of whether or not they have a problem with binge eating. More often than not, a binge eater will eat at an accelerated pace each and every time, ingesting food as fast as possible rather than actually enjoying it.
  5. One of the most characteristic signs used to diagnose genuine eating disorders is where the individual in question suffers feelings of guilt, depression, or embarrassment after eating. This essentially shows that their eating habits have taken control/precedence over their better judgment and therefore constitute a genuine eating disorder.
  6. Another common habit among problematic binge eaters is that of feeling so embarrassed about the amount of food they eat that they do their best to eat alone. In addition, it is also likely that they will have food and snacks hidden around the home and may also fall into the habit of routinely lying to others about their eating habits. Denial, for example, is a very strong indicator of an eating disorder.
  7. Individuals living with binge eating problems will often find it extremely difficult to keep any real control over their weight. As such, their weight will often fluctuate from one direction to the other, which may also result in the individual, in question frequently attempting a variety of diets and failing.
  8. When an individual develops an unhealthy relationship with food and eating in general, this can be indicative of an eating disorder. In any instance where food is no longer enjoyed, but simply turned to as something of a coping mechanism or out of pure habit, this could well be a sign that the individual in question has a disorder to be addressed.
  9. It is also common for people living with binge eating disorders to occasionally or in some cases frequently find themselves eating and eating until they become physically sick or immobile.

It’s important to remember that while none of these specific signs and symptoms can be used to accurately diagnose a binge eating disorder, they should nonetheless be acknowledged and investigated where detected. The earlier any eating disorder is brought to the attention of the professionals, the higher the likelihood of a fast and successful turnaround.

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