Are you at risk of binge eating disorder?

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Are you at risk of binge eating disorder?
Are you at risk of binge eating disorder?

Africa-Press – Rwanda. Binge eating disorder is a serious illness that can worsen if one doesn’t get medical assistance. Experts say you can tell if you have the disorder when you eat an unusually large amount of food and feel a sense of loss of control while eating.

Sometimes you can even eat more quickly than normal, feed until uncomfortably full, and eat alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much you’re eating or eating while not hungry.

Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant says that binge eating disorder is a serious eating condition in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating. Most people with binge eating disorders are overweight or obese, but one can also have normal weight.

Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as over a two-hour period, feeling that you’re eating behaviour is out of control, eating even when you’re full or not hungry, eating rapidly during binge episodes, are considered behavioural and emotional signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder, Ntamanga states.

Other signs may include; eating until you’re uncomfortably full, frequently eating alone or in secret, feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty or upset about your eating, dieting often possibly without weight loss.

The nutrition consultant stresses that a person with a binge-eating disorder may become an expert at hiding the behaviour, making it hard for others to detect the problem. But you have to create an open and honest discussion about your concerns.

Risk factors

Ntamanga also notes that binge eating disorder is more common in women than in men. People of any age can have the disorder though it often begins in the late teens or early 20s.

Family history is one of the risk factors because you’re more likely to have an eating disorder if your parents or siblings have (or had) it. This indicates that inherited genes increase the risk of developing an eating disorder.

Also, dieting is another risk factor because many people with binge eating disorders have a history of dieting. Dieting or restricting calories during the day may trigger an urge to binge-eat, especially if you have symptoms of depression, Ntamanga says.

He further explains that psychological issues are also a threat because many people who have binge eating disorders feel negative about themselves and their skills and accomplishments. Triggers for bingeing can include stress, poor body self-image and the availability of preferred binge foods.

Some of the complications that may be prompted by binge-eating disorder include, poor quality of life, problems functioning at work, with your personal life or in social situations, social isolation, and obesity- a medical condition that can lead to joint problems, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease and some sleep-related breathing disorders.

According to the expert, if your friend or loved one has a binge-eating problem, steer her or him toward healthier behaviour and professional treatment before the situation worsens.

If you have a child, foster and reinforce a healthy body image, regardless of body shape or size. Discuss any concerns with your child’s primary care provider, who may be in good position to identify early indicators of an eating disorder and help prevent its development.

According to the National Institutes of Health-NIH, treatment may include therapy to help you change your eating habits, thoughts, and feelings that have contributed to binge eating as well as other psychological symptoms.

Types of therapy that have been shown to help people with binge eating disorders are called psychotherapies and include cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and dialectical behaviour therapy.

“Your psychiatrist or other health care professionals may also prescribe medicine to help you with your binge eating, or to treat other medical or mental health problems.”

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