What is binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder is an illness that resembles bulimia nervosa and is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing. It differs from bulimia because its sufferers do not purge their bodies of the excess food via vomiting, laxative abuse, or diuretic abuse.
Who is affected by binge eating disorder?
Individuals with binge eating disorder often:
- eat large quantities of food.
- do not stop eating until they are uncomfortably full.
- have a history of weight fluctuations.
- have more difficulty losing weight and keeping it off than people with other serious weight problems.
Binge eating disorder is found in 2 to 5 percent of the general population, and is more often seen in women than men.
Genetic/environmental factors related to eating disorders:
Because eating disorders tend to run in families, and female relatives are the most often affected, genetic factors are believed to play a role in the disorders.
But, other influences, both behavioral and environmental, may also play a role. Consider these facts from the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Although most victims of anorexia and bulimia are adolescent and young adult women, these illnesses can also strike men and older women.
- Anorexia and bulimia are found most often in Caucasians, but these illnesses also affect African-Americans and other races.
- People pursuing professions or activities that emphasize thinness – such as modeling, dancing, gymnastics, wrestling, and long-distance running – are more susceptible to these disorders.