Dr. Jesus Nunez | Jul, 2024

Binge Eating Disorder

Understanding the “Eataer” Disorder (Binge Eating Disorder)

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder that healthcare providers diagnose, although many people don’t realize it’s a disorder. It causes frequent episodes of binge eating — eating an unusually large quantity of food in one session and feeling unable to stop.

What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a behavioral disorder characterized by chronic, compulsive overeating. While occasional overeating is normal, an eating disorder is a condition that you live with every day. It feels like it controls you and interferes with your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Binge eating means consuming large quantities of food in a short period and feeling like you can’t stop.

What is considered binge eating?

Criteria to diagnose binge eating disorder include:

  • Eating a greater amount of food than most people would within a limited period (one to two hours).
  • Feeling a sense of compulsion or lack of control associated with eating.
  • Binge eating episodes occur at least once a week and have been going on for several months.
  • Feelings of distress and/or self-loathing about binge eating.

How common is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is the most common of all eating disorders, accounting for almost half of all diagnoses. In the U.S., it affects almost 3% of the population, including all racial and ethnic groups. It’s more commonly diagnosed in women and people assigned female at birth than in men and people assigned male at birth, by a ratio of about 3:2. It’s also more commonly diagnosed in teenagers than adults, by a ratio of about 4:3.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder?

Signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder may include:

  • Eating past the point of satisfaction and to the point of discomfort.
  • Eating too fast to notice how much you’re eating or how it feels.
  • Eating large amounts of food when you’re not hungry or after recently finishing a meal.
  • Eating in response to emotional stress (emotional eating).
  • Eating alone and in secret and avoiding social eating.
  • Organizing your schedule around binge eating sessions.
  • Hoarding and stashing food in hidden places to access later.
  • Hiding eating from others because you’re embarrassed about how much you’re eating.
  • Obsessive thinking about food and specific food cravings.
  • Frequent dieting, which may cause weight fluctuations or no weight loss.
  • Guilt, remorse, shame and self-esteem issues related to binge eating.

Many people may exhibit signs or symptoms of binge eating occasionally. When they begin to recur regularly (once a week or more), you may have a disorder. Environmental conditions such as stress and relationships can influence your behavior and affect your mental health. These conditions may combine with other causes to push you over the edge from occasional disordered behavior to meeting the criteria for BED.

What causes the urge to binge eat?

Many factors influence eating behavior, including psychology, biology and learned habits. What triggers you to binge eat might be different from what triggers the next person. Eating can release pleasure hormones in your brain (serotonin and dopamine), which might encourage addictive tendencies. Eating can also be a way of escaping or numbing uncomfortable feelings or compensating for unmet needs.

What risk factors are associated with binge eating disorder?

You may be more likely to develop binge eating disorder if you have:

  • A family pattern of disordered eating.
  • A family pattern of dysfunctional emotional coping.
  • A personal history of trauma or abuse.
  • A personal history of food insecurity.
  • A mood disorder such as depression.
  • An anxiety disorder (general or specific).
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Substance use disorder (SUD).
  • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
  • Executive dysfunction.

What are the possible complications of binge eating disorder?

Any mental health disorder can escalate to cause increasingly destructive thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Binge eating disorder can also bring with it the health complications associated with obesity. While not everyone with BED has obesity, the combination of these two disorders can be especially harmful. The cycle of binge eating and weight gain can compound your mental and physical distress.

Complications of untreated mental illness can include:

  • Increasingly antisocial behavior, such as secrecy, avoidance and lying.
  • Increasingly erratic behavior, such as stealing and hoarding food.
  • Increasing depression, anxiety and body dysmorphia.
  • Increasing distress, self-loathing and risk of self-harm.

Complications of obesity can include:

  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Gallstones.
  • Fatty liver disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Osteoarthritis.

Management and Treatment

How do you recover from binge eating disorder?

There’s no quick fix, but with a consistent, long-term treatment plan, you can recover. Psychotherapy is usually the foundation of this treatment plan, and it’s proved effective for most people. Depending on the individual, your plan may also include medications or nutrition advice. You may interact with a variety of healthcare specialists, such as a psychologist, a psychiatrist or registered dietitian.

Diet and nutrition

People of all shapes and sizes can have BED, and they can also have various types of malnutrition. They may be deficient in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) even if they have an excess of macronutrients (sugar and fat). Nutrient deficiencies can motivate binge eating by producing cravings and a vague sense of not getting enough. Nutritional supplements and nutrition education can help.

Some people find that a structured, nutritionally balanced meal plan can simply reduce some of the decision-making stress related to eating. It can satisfy your physical needs while leaving less room to act impulsively or emotionally. Although weight loss isn’t the main goal of treatment, it can be a side effect, and this can help relieve stress for some people. However, diet may be triggering for others with BED.

RNY and Mini Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgeries, including RNY and mini gastric bypass, are highly regarded for their effectiveness in weight loss and improving health outcomes among individuals struggling with severe obesity. These procedures involve reshaping the digestive system to limit food intake and promote weight loss through different mechanisms.

Key Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgeries

Gastric bypass RNY, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is considered a gold standard due to its extensive history and proven long-term results. It involves creating a small stomach pouch and rerouting the digestive tract to bypass a portion of the stomach and small intestine. This reduces both the amount of food intake and calorie absorption, leading to significant weight loss and improvements in obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Mini gastric bypass, on the other hand, offers a simpler approach with similar outcomes. Also known as single-anastomosis gastric bypass, this procedure creates a smaller stomach pouch and reroutes a section of the small intestine, achieving weight loss through restriction and altered nutrient absorption patterns.

Considerations and Comparisons

When deciding between RNY and mini gastric bypass, patients and surgeons weigh factors like surgical complexity, potential risks, and long-term weight loss maintenance. Mini gastric bypass may appeal to those seeking a less invasive option with potentially quicker recovery times, while RNY remains favored for its established track record and comprehensive metabolic changes.

Outlook / Prognosis

Will I always have binge eating disorder?

Most mental health conditions are chronic, which means that even after successful treatment, the seeds remain in the soil. They always have the potential to flare up again. But your disorder can go into remission, and that remission can be lasting. This is what recovery means for binge eating disorder. The road to recovery may not be short or straight, but most people do get better with treatment.

Living With

What are some tips for living with binge eating disorder?

If you’re trying to get a handle on your binge eating, it can help to become more mindful of the urges that motivate your eating habits. By paying attention to your urges, you can learn to distinguish true hunger from the urge to binge eat. You can also learn to recognize when your hunger is satisfied, and you can become more conscious of what triggers your urge to binge eat. Here are some tips:

  • Practice mindful eating. When you’re thinking about eating, or you find yourself preparing to eat, slow down. Take a deep, slow breath. Then just notice, without judgment, what’s happening in your mind and body. You can also stop and do this while you’re eating.
  • Learn to recognize hunger. Physical hunger symptoms include stomach pangs or grumbles, light-headedness and hunger headaches. You may feel slightly tired or weak from low blood sugar. One self-test is to ask yourself if you’re hungry enough to eat something healthy, like salad.
  • Eat when you’re hungry. This is just as important as learning to stop eating when you’re not hungry. If you really are hungry, now is the time to eat. Don’t wait until you’re starving, or you’ll be more likely to overeat.
  • Stop before you’re full. It takes time for your stomach to receive and digest the food you’ve just eaten. Eating too fast can lead to eating too much, simply because you haven’t had time to notice that you’re full. One technique is to stop when you feel almost full — like 80%.
  • Keep a journal. Journaling is one of the most tried-and-true methods for becoming more conscious of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Take note of what you eat each day and what you’re thinking and feeling. You’ll start to recognize patterns, and maybe triggers.
  • Tackle your triggers. If you’ve noticed that certain foods or situations tend to lead to binge eating, look for ways to remove them from your life. Clear your home of your favorite binge foods and plan alternative meals in advance. Avoid social settings that encourage binge eating.

Gastric Bypass Surgery from $6,800 USD

There are multiple quick and effective methods to lose weight, especially for those who have not achieved results with traditional diets and exercises. Bariatric procedures such as gastric balloons and gastric surgeries (bypass and sleeve) are particularly effective for significant and rapid weight loss. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate method based on individual needs and overall health.

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Dr. Jesus Nunez

If you are considering weight loss surgery, gastric sleeve surgery in Mexico is an option worth exploring. With its cost-effective prices, highly qualified surgeons, and world-class medical facilities, Mexico offers a compelling solution for people seeking an effective and affordable weight loss procedure. Join the growing number of people who have embarked on this life-changing journey and achieved remarkable results. Take control of your weight and improve your quality of life with gastric sleeve surgery in Mérida. Call us now and let’s start transforming your new life!