When a person has a binge eating disorder they eat very large amounts of food, and feel that they are unable to control their eating habits. This happens to most people every now and then, but when truly excessive overeating happens many times the person has a binge eating disorder. Symptoms of binge eating include: feeling that your eating is out of control; eating when you’re not hungry; eating until you are physically uncomfortable; eating large quantities of food for a long period of time, such as two hours; eating in secret; feeling depressed or ashamed about your eating; and frequent dieting to try to offset the binging. Binge eating is not like bulimia; after overeating the person does not purge by self induced vomiting or excessive laxative abuse. The cause of binge eating disorder is not known, but it is now believed to be related to depression. Anger, boredom and anxiety can trigger a binge eating episode. Patients also may have problems with impulse control.
Binge eating disorder needs to be treated by a professional; a patient will not get better by him or herself, and may even get worse if not treated. Binge eating can be treated with professional help, but treatment may take a while. Your condition will be diagnosed through a complete psychological evaluation; this includes an honest discussion of eating habits. Symptoms related to diagnosis include: recurrent episodes of binge eating; feeling a lack of control; or feeling remorse after eating. Binge eaters will try to hide evidence of binging, hoard food, or keep food hidden in strange places. They may also wear loose-fitting clothing in an attempt to hide any changes in fluctuating weight, and to be more comfortable during binging episodes. Binge eaters may not like to eat in front of others, and may constantly diet with no results.
Regularly meeting with Dr. Zenn will help the binge eater learn to improve their binge eating habits, and replace them with healthy habits. With therapy, a binge eating patient can learn to cope better with trigger factors, such as a negative body image, or depression. The patient will begin to feel better as they learn that they can control their behavior. Psychotherapy will also help you learn how to relate to other people in your life better, and this will help binge eating that is triggered by ineffective communication skills. The patient will learn other ways to tolerate stress. There are now also some medicines that can help with binge eating. Vyvanse is approved by the FDA to treat serious cases of binge eating disorder. Use of this medicine needs to be carefully monitored by your psychiatrist. Topamax also reduces binge eating episodes, as well as some antidepressants.