Diagnosing and Treating Binge Eating Disorder

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Is a friend or close family member suffering from binge eating disorder? This is the right time to act! Know how to diagnose and treat binge eating disorder!

Identifying Binge Eating Disorder

A binge eating disorder must be distinguished from other eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa.

There is, in fact, an essential similarity between a binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa, or what is otherwise known as the binge-purge syndrome, because both involve eating excessive amounts of food and feel guilty or ashamed about it afterwards. However, the person suffering the former kind of disorder does not get rid of the food he just ate, whereas in the latter kind, the person suffering it would purge the food, either by inducing himself to vomit or by using laxatives to avoid gaining weight. Thus, physically, the difference is immediately noticeable: one who suffers from a binge eating disorder is usually overweight, while one who suffers from bulimia nervosa is usually very thin.

Diagnosis for Binge-Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is diagnosed by checking the existence of the following symptoms: binge eating a hefty amount of food in a relatively short period of time, binge eating that lasts for a period of at least two days to six months, being distressed about eating behaviors, eating unusually fast, eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not hungry, loss of control over eating, and binge eating that isn’t associated with regular purging with laxatives or by vomiting. The last symptom is an important determining factor because this differentiates binge eating disorder from bulimia nervosa.

Treatment Options

After diagnosis comes the process of treating the disorder. Treatment will not come easily. Treatment can take a long time while the patient learns how to have a healthier approach to food. Thus, it is important for a person suffering from a binge eating disorder that he receives therapy.

Therapy for binge eating may be of different kinds. It could consist of techniques to monitor and change one’s eating habits and the way he respond to emotional stress. It could require family members to participate in the process of helping the individual. This help may consist of talking with the patient and making their support known. Family and friends may also help by being a model of how one develops a positive relationship with food and exercise. Where the above treatments do not work, as in other extreme cases of eating disorders, doctors may also prescribe antidepressant medication to be used in conjunction with therapy.

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