Food is a go-to, an escape, from the worst, for many. Agreed. They say, ‘there is nothing that food cannot fix.’ This, though, when it leads to binge eating to a level where it starts causing discomfort, becomes a matter of concern. This is commonly referred to as binge eating disorder or BED.
While many falsely believe, by the name of it, that it is a disorder that causes one to shrink and lose an unhealthy amount of weight, binge eating disorder is the exact opposite of it. Under this, one usually gains a lot of weight due to binge eating food.
It is fair to say that binge eating disorder is 80% psychological and only 20% related to an obsession with food. People, as stated by experts, develop this disorder due to more serious reasons like severe stress, anxiety and depression.
Binge eating disorder can lead to life-threatening health concerns like blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes if left untreated.
The disorder involves eating excessive amounts of food in short periods of time even if you are not hungry. For those suffering from this disorder, it feels like their urge to binge eat is uncontrollable. That’s not the only thing there is to this. Binge eating, in the moment, can feel heavenly and calming, but the guilt that takes over post that, makes you feel terribly embarrassed of yourself. This then has a detrimental effect on mental health.
Sadly, a majority of people in India dismiss this as a casual issue suggesting ‘exercise’ as a remedy. What they fail to realise is that it is deep-rooted with a variety of causes, mostly psychological. Binge eating disorder can be triggered due to the genetic disposition of increased sensitivity to dopamine. Other factors like poor body image, emotional stress and substance abuse too can give birth to this disorder.
The reason why binge eating, in such a case, can take a toll is that while you are happily indulging in overeating at one time, you are also trashing yourself for the same thing feeling extremely guilty. It becomes highly alarming when eating food starts to feel like committing a sin, when you start hiding food under the bed, or in your closet, and when you eat even after your stomach refuses to take in any more food leading to vomiting.
Those suffering from binge eating disorder usually develop these symptoms:
- Eating excessive foods rapidly,
- Eating food secretly till one gets uncomfortably full
- Eating excessively despite not feeling hungry
- Losing control over how much one eats during binge eating
- Feeling guilty, ashamed and digested after eating, usually thinking about the eating behavior
- Vomiting due to excessive eating, rigorous exercise, or any other habits undertaken to stop overeating or compensate for it
If you or someone you know is having such symptoms, it is necessary to get professional help. Make sure you at least talk about this to someone who you trust or listen to someone when they take a courageous step to tell you about their eating disorder. Getting the right kind of help is imperative.