According to the internet, millennials define sadness as “that heart-breaking feeling that comes after you finish binge-watching a beloved TV show”. The act of watching an entire season in one sitting has become a valid excuse for avoiding social obligations, but not only that.
Serial binging is also a convenient way to escape yourself.
As the number of binge-eaters threatens to surpass the number of binge-watchers, we cannot but take a closer look at the signs, symptoms, and causes of this modern-day disorder.
What is BED?
As of recently listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, BED is yet another unhealthy relationship that we’ve developed with food. It’s the eating disorder that you probably don’t realize you have, given the fact that BED already affects around 3 million people worldwide.
How to recognize it? The main sign of Binge Eating Disorder is compulsive overeating. It’s very similar to the Night Eating Syndrome, though it doesn’t necessarily include the nocturnal element. If you’ve been eating huge amounts of food in a single sitting, at least once a week for three consecutive months, the bad news is – you’ve got a sly case of BED.
Comfort Food and Psychology
Unlike most eating disorders, BED doesn’t affect teens – the age of onset is usually around 21 years. Similarly to binge-watching, BED is a consequence of poor mental health. It mostly appears in people with low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction, though it may also be developed as an escape mechanism. In that case, depression and anxiety are the main culprits.
Biologically speaking, the cause of Binge Eating Disorder can be a hormonal irregularity. Social pressures are a significant trigger for BED as well, particularly if a person has been a victim of body-shaming. Whatever the cause, the disorder is always the same – unable to cope, binge-eaters seek comfort in food.
BED Symptoms that You Shouldn’t Take Lightly
Another common denominator for different cases of Binge Eating Disorder is an intense feeling of shame and embarrassment that a person suffering from BED experiences after an overeating episode. The episode itself doesn’t stop once you’re full – because satiation rarely appears at all – but only after the food has killed all sensation and caused the much-awaited numbness.
It’s exactly that sense of empty relief that helps binge-eaters escape their reality. That’s why people with Binge Eating Disorder continue to eat even when they’re full, why they can’t stop or control the overeating episode, and why, at the end, they do all this in isolation, sometimes even stockpiling food to consume secretly at a later time, when they are alone.
But don’t worry, there is some good news too. Binge Eating Disorder can be successfully treated with professional psychiatric or nutritional support, depending on whether the root cause is psychological or biological. As always with addictions and unhealthy habits, awareness is the first step.
Now that you are aware, keep track of your emotional triggers and don’t let them rob you of control. Get rid of ice-cream for a while, and ask for a helping hand from someone who loves you. It’ll take you some time, but you’ll eventually get to enjoy food the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.