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Many of us associate an eating disorder with not eating enough or purging. But the most common eating disorder among adults in this country involves out of control over-eating.
Binge eating disorder affects millions of Americans, and is characterized by eating a larger amount of food than normal in a short time frame (~ two hours), eating rapidly to the point of feeling uncomfortably full or sick, and/or eating alone or in secret.
The disorder was officially recognized in 2013 as a formal diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Before you start wondering if that time you raided the pantry signals a problem, know that many of us use food to make ourselves feel better from time to time. Emotional eating is something nearly everyone does, to some degree. How do you know if there’s a real problem?
Symptoms of a binge eating disorder include:
We should also clear up some of the misconceptions about binge eating disorder, such as:
It can be very difficult to live with a binge eating disorder. It affects all areas of life, including relationships and work. It can lead to depression, anxiety and low self-worth. Binge eating also carries physical health risks such as heart disease, cholesterol issues, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Fortunately, binge eating disorder is very treatable. Treatment should not only promote mindful eating habits, but it should also address the underlying physical, emotional and social factors associated with binge eating.
Know the signs of an eating disorder and when to get help.
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