Medical and Psychological Effects of Eating Disorders
Tauri Hall, 2003
Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
This disorder has recently been included as a research category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, so it has been less researched than anorexia and bulimia nervosa. BED (sometimes referred to as compulsive overeating) is characterized by frequent binge eating episodes. Individuals with BED report feeling out of control and unable to stop eating. Binge eating is often done rapidly and secretly; feelings of shame and guilt may follow. Unlike people with bulimia, who follow binges with compensatory behaviours, people with BED do not usually vomit, over exercise, or abuse laxatives or diuretics. There are five central diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder. You will notice overlap with bulimia; both disorders are characterized by binge eating.
o Reoccurring binge eating episodes. A binge is described as: eating an unusually large amount of food in a set period of time, feeling a lack of control over what is eaten and the quantity of food eaten.
o Episodes of binge eating include three or more of the following:
1. eating much faster than usual
2. eating while feeling full or uncomfortable
3. eating large quantities of food even when not hungry
4. eating alone and feeling ashamed by the amount eaten
5. feeling disgust, depression or guilt after overeating
o Experiencing distress due to binge eating
o Binge eating episodes occur approximately two days a week for six consecutive months.
o There is no regular use of purging behaviours, and binge eating is not occurring during episodes of anorexia or bulimia nervosa.
Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder
The majority of medical risks associated with binge eating disorder are due to health impacts of clinical obesity, including:
o High blood pressure
o High cholesterol levels
o Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels
o Secondary diabetes
o Gallbladder disease
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