Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sue Scheff: About Binge Eating Disorder

Source: Kids Health

About Binge Eating Disorder

Lots of people find comfort in food. After all, it's often at the heart of our happiest celebrations. Birthdays can mean cake with friends; Thanksgiving often means turkey and stuffing with family. Most people will sometimes eat much more than they normally do on special occasions.
But people with binge eating disorder have a different relationship with food — they feel like they've lost all control over how much they're eating, like they can't stop. They also binge more frequently — at least twice a week for several months.

For people with binge eating disorder, at first food may provide feelings of calm or comfort, but later it can be the focus of strong guilt and distress. A binge usually involves eating unusually large amounts of food quickly and feel completely out of control as they do it. These behaviors become a pattern of eating and can alternate with dieting.

Binge eating disorder is more common in people who are obese, but it affects people with healthy weights as well. However, there's little information on how many kids and teens are affected because the condition has only recently been recognized, and some may be too embarrassed to seek help for it.

And because most binge eating is done alone, even if their kids may be gaining weight, parents might not be aware that it's due to bingeing.

While most people with other eating disorders (like anorexia and bulimia) are female, an estimated third of those with binge eating disorder are male. Adults in treatment (including 2% of adult Americans — roughly 1 million to 2 million people) often say their problems started in childhood or adolescence.

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