Binge Eating Disorder and Other Types of Overeating Behaviors
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating disorder (BED) is defined as recurring episodes of eating significantly more food in a short period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control, shame and self-hate. Someone with binge eating disorder may eat too quickly, even when he or she is not hungry. The person may have feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or disgust and may binge eat alone to hide the behavior. This disorder is associated with marked distress and occurs, on average, at least once a week over three months. While overeating is a challenge for many Americans, recurrent binge eating is much less common, far more severe, and is associated with significant physical and psychological problems. The majority of individuals with BED are not obese or “overweight”.
How Common is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder is becoming more and more prevalent within the United States, although it is important to remember that Eating Disorders do not discriminate and do have a global impact. Binge Eating Disorder is estimated to effect approximately 1-5% of the population, 40% of those individuals being male and 60% female.
There are other types of overeating behaviors that are more common than binge eating disorder.
Sometimes compulsive overeating can be mischaracterized as binge eating disorder. Compulsive overeating is small ingestions of food throughout the day or night (commonly known as “grazing”).
Night Eating Syndrome is a pattern of not eating before noon, 4 or more mornings/week, where at least 25% of your total caloric intake is after dinner. It also appears with insomnia and persists for longer than 3 months.
Stress eating is another type of “out of control” eating pattern. Stress eating is just as it sounds, responding to stress by eating. Usually when this happens, you might go for sugary, salty, fattier foods.