Blog

Binge Eating Disorder and Teens

By Cynthia

temp-post-image

What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder isn't the same as occasional overeating. Plenty of people eat too much once in a while. Who hasn’t had a stomachache after a huge Thanksgiving dinner? People with this eating disorder, though, feel compelled to do so on a regular basis -- at least once a week over a period of 3 months or longer.

Feelings

People who have binge eating disorder feel they can't control how much or even what they're eating. They often eat alone, until they feel sick, or when they’re not hungry. Guilt, shame, disgust, or sadness come after the binge. People may feel so embarrassed about their behavior that they go out of their way to hide it from friends and family.

Bulimia Vs Binge Eating

Bulimia and binge eating disorder aren't the same, although they share some symptoms. People with bulimia also regularly overeat, and they may feel the same negative emotions, such as a loss of control, shame, or guilt. The key difference is that people with bulimia "purge" afterward. They might make themselves vomit, use laxatives or diuretics, or exercise too much. Purging is not part of binge eating disorder.

Whose at Risk?

Anyone can develop binge eating disorder, regardless of race, sex, age, or weight. It’s believed to be the most common eating disorder in the U.S. Although women are slightly more likely to have it, men can also get it. More than 6 million Americans -- 2% of men and 3.5% of women -- will have this condition at some point in their lives. Men are more likely to have it in middle age. Among teens, 1.6% have binge eating disorder.

Bingeing and Weight

Many people who develop binge eating disorder also struggle with their weight. Among people with the disorder, about two-thirds are obese, and one study found that as many as 30% of people who seek weight-loss treatment may also have it. People who are overweight or obese are also at risk for related health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Emotional Health

Many people with binge eating disorder also have other emotional or mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse. They may also feel stressed, have trouble sleeping, and struggle with low self-esteem or body image shame.

What Causes it?

Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes eating disorders. A mix of factors, including a person's genes, psychology and background, may be involved. Dieting can lead to binge eating disorder, but we don't know whether that alone can trigger it. Some people may be extra sensitive to food cues, such as smells or images of food. The disorder can also result from stressful or traumatic life events, such as the death of a loved one or being teased about weight.

Recovery Is Possible

If you think you might have binge eating disorder, know that it can be successfully treated. The first step is getting a diagnosis. To do that, a doctor or other health professional will give you a physical exam and ask questions about your eating habits, emotional health, body image, and feelings toward food.

Treatment

Talking with a psychiatrist or other counselor is key in working on emotional issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to change the negative thought patterns that can spark binge eating. Interpersonal therapy (IPT) addresses relationship problems that may be involved. It also helps to work with a nutritionist to learn healthy eating habits and keep a food diary as you're recovering.

Medication

Certain medications, such as antidepressants and specific anti-seizure drugs that can help control food cravings and urges to binge, may be useful when used along with counseling. Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine), a medication used to treat ADHD, is the first drug to be approved to treat binge eating disorder. It is not clear how the drug works, but studies have shown that Vyvanse is able to help reduce the number of binge days per week. See your Doctor for more information.

Losing Weight

Binge eating can lead to weight gain and make it tough to shed extra pounds and keep them off for good. As part of their treatment, people with binge eating disorder may need help with that. Traditional weight loss programs may help, but some people struggle with strict diets. Ask your doctor whether you could benefit from a specialized weight-loss program for people with eating disorders.

Prevention

If you're at risk for binge eating disorder, you can take action to avoid getting it. Watch for feelings such as, guilt, shame, or being impulsive around food, or having low self-esteem. If you have these kinds of issues, or if eating disorders run in your family, talk to a doctor or a therapist.

Weight Gain and Obesity

If you eat a lot of food in a short amount of time on a regular basis, you might have binge eating disorder (BED). It can affect your health in a lot of ways, but two of the main risks are weight gain and obesity. Two-thirds of those with BED are obese, though average-sized people can have it, too.

What to Do About the Extra Weight

Set a goal to shed those added pounds. You can reach a healthy weight with exercise, portion control, and smart food choices. But you might need a special program that also treats eating disorders. Your doctor can help you find the right one.

Type 2 Diabetes

Overeating can lead to diabetes. That means your body can’t use the hormone insulin correctly, which makes your blood sugar levels harder to control. Over time, this can damage your kidneys, your eyes, and your heart.

Depression and Anxiety

Binge eating disorder often goes hand in hand with mood troubles. Doctors think many things can lead to BED, so it’s hard to say for sure that depression or anxiety cause it. But people who binge eat often feel shame and guilt about their problem. Most try to hide it.

How to Manage Mood Disorders

Eat nutritious food, exercise, and get your ZZZs, because healthy habits like those can help you fight your anxiety or depression. But treatment for BED also might include sessions with a mental health professional, who could recommend talk therapy, antidepressant medications, or other medicines that can help treat binge-eating behavior.

Digestion Problems

Long-lasting heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also happen to people who binge eat. Those issues are often linked with weight gain and obesity, so doctors aren’t sure if the disorder itself or the excess pounds are to blame.

Heartburn and IBS

Heartburn that doesn’t get better can cause serious issues, including damage to your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. See your doctor if you have it twice a week or more. They might give you prescription meds or tell you to see another doctor who specializes in digestion. For IBS, a healthy diet and cutting stress can help, but you may also need medication.

Gallbladder Disease

Many health problems linked to BED -- obesity, high cholesterol, high triglycerides (fat in your blood), and yo-yo weight gain and loss -- also raise the risk of trouble with your gallbladder. That's the small pouch that sits under your liver. The most common problem is gallstones, the buildup of cholesterol or bile in the organ.

Stroke and Heart Disease

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are common with BED, and they can raise your chances of a stroke and heart disease. When your blood pressure stays too high for a long time, it strains your blood vessels. And high cholesterol can clog your arteries.

Our Leaner Healthier Teen program is based on our proprietary "NO SHAME" formula. A certified LHT Coach works hand in hand with your child to help improve their body image and self image. This often helps with the disorder along with working with your healthcare physician. For more information or to find a coach near you email Cynthia@LHTRevolution.com


Leaner, Healthier Today- "Live a Leaner, Longer Life!"©

Get In Touch