Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
BED is a pattern of binge eating, like in individuals with Bulimia Nervosa, but without compensatory behaviors like purging, fasting or exercising. They are markedly distressed by the binge eating and often have erratic eating patterns. It has been suggested that many people with BED may binge as a way of coping with unpleasant feelings or stress.
While BED can have a negative effect on how someone feels about themselves, another serious long-term consequence is weight gain. Most individuals with BED are not obese, but are likely to gain weight faster than their peers who do not binge eat. Thus, one long-term consequence of untreated BED is obesity, which is associated with a number of medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
The treatment of BED is similar to treatment for Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa. The first step is to establish a healthy eating pattern, e.g. three meals and two snacks a day. Then the psychological issues such as an exaggerated emphasis on being thin, dissatisfaction with one’s body, using food to cope with negative emotions, are addressed. Just as with Bulimia Nervosa, anti-depressants have been found to be useful in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Binge Eating Disorder (BED), contact St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute at 636-532-9188.