Although binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common of all the eating disorders in the United States, it remains widely misunderstood. Binge eating disorder does not merely mean occasional overeating. Teens diagnosed with binge eating disorder tend to engage in extreme binging at least once a week, for at least three months.
Binge eating disorder is a type of eating disorder in which an individual periodically consumes large amounts of food, eating to the point of discomfort. When binging, people with binge eating disorder usually consume food faster than normal, continue to eat even when they are no longer physically hungry.
Binge eating disorder is often mistaken for bulimia nervosa. Although similar to bulimia in the amount of food eaten, binge eating disorder does not include the symptomology of regular purging after binging. As with bulimia, people with binge eating disorder tend to hide their eating from family and friends. While many teens with binge eating disorder are overweight, many are not. Thus, it depends on the individual case.
Moreover, people with binge eating disorder struggle with negative views of their physical appearance. Therefore, such struggles often result in depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Additionally, health concerns brought on by repetitive binging include weight gain or weight cycling, dehydration, and bloating. Treatment plans for BED typically include psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, and inpatient support.
Sources: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Women’s Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)