Binge eating is often described as eating unusually large amounts of food, often to the point of gastric distress to manage feelings that are uncomfortable and overwhelming. ANAD (Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders) offers this definition: “The disorder is characterized by eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time, usually in isolation, and with high levels of distress, shame, and guilt about the bingeing.” Sufferers are frequently crash dieting or trying fad methods of weight loss. For some people binging can occur once a week to multiple daily occurrences. Not all people with BED are overweight. It is a legitimate and distressing condition that often leaves people feeling ashamed and frustrated.
According to BEDA (Binge Eating Disorder Association) “BED is the most common eating disorder in the United States. An estimated 3.5% of women, 2% of men, and 30% to 40% of those seeking weight loss treatments can be clinically diagnosed with binge eating disorder. The disorder impacts people of all races, levels of education, and income — including adults, children, and adolescents.”
I treat Binge Eating Disorder with medications that aim to reduce impulsivity and craving. The goal of treatment is not to lose weight but to develop tools to deal with underlying distress.