How does someone know if he or she has binge eating disorder?
Most of us overeat from time to time, and many people feel they frequently eat more than they should. Eating large amounts of food, however, does not mean that a person has binge eating disorder. Doctors are still debating the best ways to determine if someone has binge eating disorder. But most people with serious binge eating problems have:
- Frequent episodes of eating what others would consider an abnormally large amount of food.
- Frequent feelings of being unable to control what or how much is being eaten.
Several of these behaviors or feelings:
- Eating much more rapidly than usual.
- Eating until uncomfortably full.
- Eating large amounts of food, even when not physically hungry.
- Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten.
- Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating.
Episodes of binge eating also occur in the eating disorder bulimia nervosa. Persons with bulimia, however, regularly purge, fast, or engage in strenuous exercise after an episode of binge eating. Purging means vomiting or using diuretics (water pills) or laxatives in greater-than-recommended doses to avoid gaining weight. Fasting is not eating for at least 24 hours. Strenuous exercise, in this case, is defined as exercising for more than an hour solely to avoid gaining weight after binge eating. Purging, fasting, and strenuous exercise are dangerous ways to attempt weight control.
National Institutes of Health, 3/00
Last reviewed March 2000 by
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