Binge Eating Disorder

Similar to bulimia, someone who experiences binge eating disorder will binge but do not compensate their behaviours. They experience the same emptiness that someone who has bulimia does, but will retain what they have eaten, which will usually make them overweight/obese.

The sufferer will then go into a trance-like state which allows them to consume vast amounts of food without feeling satisfied. The body may feel full but as the brain has not registered the eating, it does not feel any satisfaction. Indeed as the satisfaction being sought is an emotional one, which cannot be satisfied. Because of this, self disgust and shame will be the outcome rather than the comfort which was being sought.

A binge eater may eat when feeling depressed and do so on a frequent basis. Someone who eats compulsively and constantly will consume more calories than what is generally recommended. Both problems share the same emotional difficulties concurrent with anorexia and bulimia and is other another way of using food to cope.

What is happening?

Many contributing factors can influence our eating behaviours – typically, family being one of them. As with other eating disorders shape and size can become the focus instead of the underlying factors. The extra weight carried by someone who binge/compulsively eats can act as a protective armour against the outside world and conceal feelings of weakness and vulnerability.

The effects on the body: weight gain (but not always); stomach pains; digestive problems; constipation; poor or spotty skin; difficulty sleeping

Psychological signs: eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry; feeling out of control around food; feeling self-conscious eating with others; feeling ashamed, depressed or guilty after bingeing; being unable to purge yourself or compensate food eaten; large exterior – often feels small on the inside; obsessive about weight and body size; mood swings

Behavioural signs: eating much more rapidly than usual; eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating alone because of embarrassment at the large quantities consumed; being secretive and lying about how much you’ve eaten.

'Men Get Eating Disorders Too' is a registered charity in England and Wales no. 1139351.

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