Dr Daniels, I never really know if I am hungry or full, and sometimes eat so much that I feel uncomfortably full afterward. Does this mean I have Binge Eating Disorder?
Overeating: What is it?
Overeating at times is part of normal eating. Examples of overeating include having an extra helping at a meal because something tastes soooo good, or eating beyond fullness at a special holiday meal or celebration.
Binge Eating: What is it?
The American Psychiatric Association defines Binge Eating Disorder (BED) as eating significantly more food in a short period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances. The key feature is feeling a loss of control. Feelings of disgust, guilt, or embarrassment are also common, as is binge eating in secret to hide the behavior. While overeating may happen at times in a person without this disorder, an individual with BED has recurrent episodes of bingeing without purging. There is often emotional and physical distress. Episodes occur at least 1x per week for 3 months
BED is more common than Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa; 5 million women and 3 million men in the United States struggle with this disorder. Though this eating disorder is prevalent in our country, it can easily go undiagnosed. Understanding the criteria that differentiates it from overeating and obesity can help raise greater awareness.
If you are unsure if you or a loved one may have BED, seek professional help from an Eating Disorder expert. BED is unlikely to go away on its own. With proper treatment, full recovery is completely possible!