Disease: Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder facts

  • Binge eating disorder is a mental illness marked by recurrent binge eating episodes without the affected individual's effort to make up for the binge episodes by excessively exercising, purging, and/or inappropriately using medications like diet pills or laxatives.
  • Binge eating disorder affects approximately 2% of men and 3.5% of women, with most developing the condition during their teens or early adulthood. Men make up approximately one-third of individuals with binge eating disorder.
  • Approximately 65% of individuals with binge eating disorder are obese, and many more are overweight.
  • Binge eating disorder symptoms and signs include
    • eating though not actually hungry,
    • eating alone due to feelings of shame,
    • eating more quickly than normal,
    • eating until feeling uncomfortable,
    • feeling depressed, disgusted, or guilty after overeating.
  • There appears to be no specific cause for binge eating disorder.
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), topiramate (Topamax), serotonergic (SSRI) medications, and sibutramine (Meridia) effectively reduce the amount and number of binge episodes.
  • Psychotherapy can be key in the treatment of the emotional problems associated with this binge eating disorder.
  • People with binge eating disorder have a greater risk of developing another psychiatric illness. Individuals with binge eating disorder appear to have a greater risk of developing type II diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure, as well as engaging in self-injurious behaviors or having suicidal thoughts or actions compared to similar-weight individuals without this eating disorder.
  • Educating teenagers and adults about resisting society's pressure to be thin, understanding factors that affect body weight and the negative health aspects of eating disorders, and encouraging stress management, excellent self-esteem, healthful weight control, and acceptance of their bodies can help prevent eating disorders.

What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating without efforts on the part of the affected individuals to compensate by undoing the binge episodes. Examples of such undoing behaviors include purging food by inducing vomiting, excessively exercising, and/or inappropriately using medications like laxatives or diet pills. This condition was generally described by mental-health professionals under the diagnosis of eating disorder, not otherwise specified rather than as its own separate entity, but the most recent revision of the widely accepted diagnostic manual used by mental-health professionals has included binge eating disorder as a separate diagnosis.

Statistics about binge eating disorder indicate that this condition is the most common of all eating disorders, affecting about 3.5% of women and 2% of men over the course of a lifetime. It is apparently quite common in individuals who seek treatment for obesity in weight-loss programs that are affiliated with a hospital. About one-third of individuals with this condition are males. Most develop the disorder during adolescence or early adulthood. There seems to be no difference in the incidence of binge eating disorder among ethnic groups.

Binge eating disorder can have a significant impact on the health of those who suffer with it. Specifically, about 65% of people with binge eating disorder are obese (20% overweight or more), with even more being generally overweight. Individuals who develop binge eating disorder are at higher risk of also having another psychiatric illness, like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Women with this illness tend to suffer from a negative body image, whereas men are more likely develop a substance use disorder. Other important facts about binge eating disorder include its tendency to persist for more than 14 years, with only 7% resolving after the first year of having the illness. When compared to other eating disorders like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, which each tend to last less than six years, binge eating disorder has more of a chronic nature.

What are causes and risk factors for binge eating disorder?

As with most other mental disorders, there is no one specific cause for binge eating disorder. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Individuals who are prone to obesity, either genetically or otherwise, tend to be more likely to develop binge eating disorder compared to those who are not obese. Environmental risk factors for binge eating disorders include a history of being bullied or physically or sexually abused. For Caucasian women as opposed to African-American women, discrimination tends to be a risk factor for this disorder, as well. Other risk factors for binge eating disorder include more exposure to negative comments about shape, weight, and eating. People who participate in competitive sports at an elite level are at higher risk for developing eating disorders in general.

Psychologically, binge eating disorder is thought of by many professionals to be a form of food addiction that is characterized by compulsive overeating. This condition tends to be associated with increased depression, anxiety, and substance-use disorders. Phobias and panic disorder are the most common anxiety problems experienced by people with binge eating disorder. Eating binges tend to be precipitated by a number of things, like dietary restrictions, hunger, and negative moods.

What are binge eating disorder symptoms and signs?

Binge eating disorder symptoms and signs include recurring episodes of binge eating without engaging in purging, excessive exercising, the use of medications, or any other behaviors that are often used by bulimic individuals to attempt to compensate for the binge episode. People with this mental illness tend to engage in stress or other emotional eating, take longer to feel full, and are more likely to feel like they are starving when that is not the case. The binge episodes are associated with at least three of the following characteristics:

  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Eating when not physically hungry
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone because of shame
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after overeating

Also, the individual with binge eating disorder experiences marked distress regarding their binge eating.

How is binge eating disorder diagnosed?

As is true with virtually any mental-health diagnosis, there is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has binge eating disorder. Therefore, health-care professionals diagnose this disorder by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information. The health-care professional will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual's primary-care doctor perform one. The medical examination will usually include lab tests to evaluate the person's general health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that has what appear to be mental-health symptoms.

In asking questions about psychological symptoms, mental-health professionals are often exploring if the individual suffers from symptoms of binge eating disorder or another eating disorder but also depression and/or mania, anxiety, substance abuse, hallucinations or delusions, as well as some behavioral disorders. Individuals with binge eating disorder may seem to eat compulsively, having symptoms in common with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Health-care professionals may provide the people they evaluate with a quiz or self-test as a screening tool for binge eating disorder and other eating disorders. Since some of the symptoms of binge eating disorder can also occur with other conditions, the mental-health screening is designed to determine if the individual suffers from any emotional problem. In order to assess the person's current emotional state, health-care professionals perform a mental-status examination, as well.

What is the treatment for binge eating disorder?

As with obese individuals without binge eating disorder, people with this illness tend to lose weight from adopting a low-calorie diet and engaging in regular exercise, and some will regain weight in the long term. While considered adjunctive rather than primary forms of treatment, home remedies like meditation may help reduce the frequency and severity of binge eating disorder symptoms, thereby decreasing the impact of those symptoms on the self-rating scale.

Medications that have been found to be effective in reducing the number and amount of binge episodes in binge eating disorder include lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has been recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat binge eating disorder, topiramate (Topamax), which is used to treat seizures, as well as serotonergic (SSRI) medications that treat anxiety (anti-anxiety medications) or depression (antidepressants), like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro). Sibutramine (Meridia) is an appetite suppressant that has been found to help decrease binge eating and enhance weight loss. SSRIs tend to be well tolerated and have a low incidence of side effects like stomach upset, sleep problems, and sexual dysfunction. Topiramate was first used to treat seizures and is sometimes discontinued by patients because of daytime sleepiness, difficulty thinking, and poor coordination. Sibutramine's most common side effects include headache, constipation, stomach upset, insomnia, and painful menstrual periods. Less common, more serious side effects of sibutramine include palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.

While psychotherapy alone does not tend to result in long-term weight loss in individuals with binge eating disorder, it can be a key component of the rehabilitation ("rehab") and recovery from the emotional problems that are often associated with this disorder. Two forms of psychotherapy that have been found to be effective in that regard include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (ITP). In cognitive behavioral therapy, the mental-health professional works to help the person with binge eating disorder identify, challenge, and decrease negative thinking and otherwise dysfunctional belief systems that trigger unwanted behaviors. Dialectical behavior therapy, which is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on emotional regulation, has also been found to be an effective means of increasing the length of time between binge episodes (for example, binge abstinence) in preliminary studies. The goal of interpersonal therapy tends to be identifying and managing problems the sufferer of binge eating disorder may have in his or her relationships with others. Participation in one of a number of self-help support groups, like Overeaters Anonymous or Eating Disorders Anonymous, can also be an important part of overcoming this condition.

Understanding and addressing how to treat other mental-health problems that might co-occur with binge eating disorder are important aspects of overcoming this illness. For example, as about 57% of men and 28% of women with binge eating disorder also suffer from a substance-use disorder, treating both problems will enhance the successful recovery from each illness.

What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating without efforts on the part of the affected individuals to compensate by undoing the binge episodes. Examples of such undoing behaviors include purging food by inducing vomiting, excessively exercising, and/or inappropriately using medications like laxatives or diet pills. This condition was generally described by mental-health professionals under the diagnosis of eating disorder, not otherwise specified rather than as its own separate entity, but the most recent revision of the widely accepted diagnostic manual used by mental-health professionals has included binge eating disorder as a separate diagnosis.

Statistics about binge eating disorder indicate that this condition is the most common of all eating disorders, affecting about 3.5% of women and 2% of men over the course of a lifetime. It is apparently quite common in individuals who seek treatment for obesity in weight-loss programs that are affiliated with a hospital. About one-third of individuals with this condition are males. Most develop the disorder during adolescence or early adulthood. There seems to be no difference in the incidence of binge eating disorder among ethnic groups.

Binge eating disorder can have a significant impact on the health of those who suffer with it. Specifically, about 65% of people with binge eating disorder are obese (20% overweight or more), with even more being generally overweight. Individuals who develop binge eating disorder are at higher risk of also having another psychiatric illness, like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Women with this illness tend to suffer from a negative body image, whereas men are more likely develop a substance use disorder. Other important facts about binge eating disorder include its tendency to persist for more than 14 years, with only 7% resolving after the first year of having the illness. When compared to other eating disorders like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, which each tend to last less than six years, binge eating disorder has more of a chronic nature.

What are causes and risk factors for binge eating disorder?

As with most other mental disorders, there is no one specific cause for binge eating disorder. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Individuals who are prone to obesity, either genetically or otherwise, tend to be more likely to develop binge eating disorder compared to those who are not obese. Environmental risk factors for binge eating disorders include a history of being bullied or physically or sexually abused. For Caucasian women as opposed to African-American women, discrimination tends to be a risk factor for this disorder, as well. Other risk factors for binge eating disorder include more exposure to negative comments about shape, weight, and eating. People who participate in competitive sports at an elite level are at higher risk for developing eating disorders in general.

Psychologically, binge eating disorder is thought of by many professionals to be a form of food addiction that is characterized by compulsive overeating. This condition tends to be associated with increased depression, anxiety, and substance-use disorders. Phobias and panic disorder are the most common anxiety problems experienced by people with binge eating disorder. Eating binges tend to be precipitated by a number of things, like dietary restrictions, hunger, and negative moods.

What are binge eating disorder symptoms and signs?

Binge eating disorder symptoms and signs include recurring episodes of binge eating without engaging in purging, excessive exercising, the use of medications, or any other behaviors that are often used by bulimic individuals to attempt to compensate for the binge episode. People with this mental illness tend to engage in stress or other emotional eating, take longer to feel full, and are more likely to feel like they are starving when that is not the case. The binge episodes are associated with at least three of the following characteristics:

  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Eating when not physically hungry
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone because of shame
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after overeating

Also, the individual with binge eating disorder experiences marked distress regarding their binge eating.

How is binge eating disorder diagnosed?

As is true with virtually any mental-health diagnosis, there is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has binge eating disorder. Therefore, health-care professionals diagnose this disorder by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information. The health-care professional will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual's primary-care doctor perform one. The medical examination will usually include lab tests to evaluate the person's general health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that has what appear to be mental-health symptoms.

In asking questions about psychological symptoms, mental-health professionals are often exploring if the individual suffers from symptoms of binge eating disorder or another eating disorder but also depression and/or mania, anxiety, substance abuse, hallucinations or delusions, as well as some behavioral disorders. Individuals with binge eating disorder may seem to eat compulsively, having symptoms in common with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Health-care professionals may provide the people they evaluate with a quiz or self-test as a screening tool for binge eating disorder and other eating disorders. Since some of the symptoms of binge eating disorder can also occur with other conditions, the mental-health screening is designed to determine if the individual suffers from any emotional problem. In order to assess the person's current emotional state, health-care professionals perform a mental-status examination, as well.

What is the treatment for binge eating disorder?

As with obese individuals without binge eating disorder, people with this illness tend to lose weight from adopting a low-calorie diet and engaging in regular exercise, and some will regain weight in the long term. While considered adjunctive rather than primary forms of treatment, home remedies like meditation may help reduce the frequency and severity of binge eating disorder symptoms, thereby decreasing the impact of those symptoms on the self-rating scale.

Medications that have been found to be effective in reducing the number and amount of binge episodes in binge eating disorder include lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has been recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat binge eating disorder, topiramate (Topamax), which is used to treat seizures, as well as serotonergic (SSRI) medications that treat anxiety (anti-anxiety medications) or depression (antidepressants), like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro). Sibutramine (Meridia) is an appetite suppressant that has been found to help decrease binge eating and enhance weight loss. SSRIs tend to be well tolerated and have a low incidence of side effects like stomach upset, sleep problems, and sexual dysfunction. Topiramate was first used to treat seizures and is sometimes discontinued by patients because of daytime sleepiness, difficulty thinking, and poor coordination. Sibutramine's most common side effects include headache, constipation, stomach upset, insomnia, and painful menstrual periods. Less common, more serious side effects of sibutramine include palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.

While psychotherapy alone does not tend to result in long-term weight loss in individuals with binge eating disorder, it can be a key component of the rehabilitation ("rehab") and recovery from the emotional problems that are often associated with this disorder. Two forms of psychotherapy that have been found to be effective in that regard include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (ITP). In cognitive behavioral therapy, the mental-health professional works to help the person with binge eating disorder identify, challenge, and decrease negative thinking and otherwise dysfunctional belief systems that trigger unwanted behaviors. Dialectical behavior therapy, which is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on emotional regulation, has also been found to be an effective means of increasing the length of time between binge episodes (for example, binge abstinence) in preliminary studies. The goal of interpersonal therapy tends to be identifying and managing problems the sufferer of binge eating disorder may have in his or her relationships with others. Participation in one of a number of self-help support groups, like Overeaters Anonymous or Eating Disorders Anonymous, can also be an important part of overcoming this condition.

Understanding and addressing how to treat other mental-health problems that might co-occur with binge eating disorder are important aspects of overcoming this illness. For example, as about 57% of men and 28% of women with binge eating disorder also suffer from a substance-use disorder, treating both problems will enhance the successful recovery from each illness.

Source: http://www.rxlist.com

As with most other mental disorders, there is no one specific cause for binge eating disorder. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Individuals who are prone to obesity, either genetically or otherwise, tend to be more likely to develop binge eating disorder compared to those who are not obese. Environmental risk factors for binge eating disorders include a history of being bullied or physically or sexually abused. For Caucasian women as opposed to African-American women, discrimination tends to be a risk factor for this disorder, as well. Other risk factors for binge eating disorder include more exposure to negative comments about shape, weight, and eating. People who participate in competitive sports at an elite level are at higher risk for developing eating disorders in general.

Psychologically, binge eating disorder is thought of by many professionals to be a form of food addiction that is characterized by compulsive overeating. This condition tends to be associated with increased depression, anxiety, and substance-use disorders. Phobias and panic disorder are the most common anxiety problems experienced by people with binge eating disorder. Eating binges tend to be precipitated by a number of things, like dietary restrictions, hunger, and negative moods.

Source: http://www.rxlist.com

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