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Binge Eating

Understanding what is meant by “Binge Eating”, and the possible treatments for it.

Binge Eating - definition and symptoms

Binge Eating – definitions

“Binge eating” is an eating disorder characterized by episodes of compulsive ingestion of a large amount of food, in a limited period of time, without compensatory behaviour aimed at preventing weight gain. (purging, vomiting…).
The subject generally feels a loss of control over their food consumption. The direct consequence of hyperphagia attacks is significant weight gain.
Many obese subjects suffer from this eating behaviour disorder, which is often associated with other mental disorders.

Symptoms of Binge Eating

Binge eating is characterized by:

  • ingestion of large amounts of food in a short period of time

  • a feeling of loss of control over the food (the subject feels that he can not stop eating)

  • faster than average food intake

  • food intake leading to uncomfortable satiety

  • consumption of food in secret (discomfort with the amount eaten)

  • a guilty feeling following hyperphagic episodes

The affected patient also has a lack of measures to reduce weight gain after the episode of “binge eating”.

Binge Eating - figures and key data

It is estimated that in France, 2% of the population suffers from “binge eating”. This eating disorder is found in 20-40% of subjects who are in treatment for overweight. We also observe that the probability of suffering from “binge eating” increases with the body mass index (BMI). Finally, women are more often affected by binge eating than men (3: 2 ratio)

Binge Eating - risk factors

The precise causes of this eating behaviour disorder are not clearly defined and are undoubtedly multifactorial (biological, social, psychological and environmental). However, there seem to be biological predispositions to overweight and/or mood disorders.

Compared to obese individuals who do not suffer from it, obese people with binge eating tend to be heavier.

What treatments and support for the Binge Eating?

To date, there are many therapeutic modalities and multiple possibilities to cure Binge Eating. A precise diagnosis must make it possible to understand the mental disorders which can accompany the hyperphagia of the patient. According to this diagnosis, the patient will be able to benefit from multidisciplinary support, combining psychotherapy, dietetics, sport, and possible drug treatments.

The goal of treatment is to influence both eating behavior and the underlying mental health issues. The healing process usually takes several years.