The first national study of individuals with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) was released by the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy and Action on February 13, 2007. It revealed that Binge Eating Disorder is now the nation’s most common eating disorder (www.collegian.psu.edu). The study showed that almost 4 percent of Americans suffer from this disorder, more than twice that of bulimia or anorexia (www.collegian.psu.edu).
A person with BED may: (as quoted from www.helpguide.org)
· eat an unusually large quantity of food even when they are not really hungry
· keep eating until they are uncomfortably full
· eat alone or in secret because they are ashamed or embarrassed
· eat or graze continuously without ever feeling satiated
· eat when they are stressed or unsure of how to cope with emotional challenges
· feel unable to control what or how much they are eating
· feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating
· may develop another eating disorder-bulimia-as a way to counteract the effects of bingeing
Mark Lerro, executive director of the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy and Action “It appears that with binge eating, it’s a different kind of mechanism in the brain compared to anorexia, which is like an obsessive compulsive process,” Lerro said. “The typical behavior is that someone will eat until they are physically uncomfortable and continue eating without sense of satisfaction” (www.collegian.psu.edu). This study also found a link between BED and other unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse and sexual promiscuity (www.collegian.psu.edu). BED can lead to health consequences, such as obesity, depression, personal distress and guilt, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and other conditions that go along with overweight (www.helpguide.org).
There is good news, though. Binge Eating Disorder has a fairly high recovery rate. Treatment is generally not as lengthy or expensive as other eating disorders, according to Lerro. Typical treatment for Binge Eating Disorder includes individual psychotherapy, which will usually be cognitive-behavioral, focusing on the client’s thoughts and behaviors, and changing irrational though processes), or behavioral, which simply focuses on changing the behavior. Therapists will also address any other underlying problems that may have lead to the disorder. Group therapy and support groups, as is true of other eating disorders, are quite popular and effective, when used in conjunction with individual therapy.
With this recent research on Binge Eating Disorder comes increased awareness of the disorder. As a result of this and other research, professionals are beginning to understand this wide-spread disorder more than ever. This will, in turn, lead to more effective treatment for those who suffer from BED.