The people who go to an eating disorder clinic for treatment each have a unique story and many of them have disorders and conditions that manifest in unique ways and each requires unique approaches to treatment.
For example, binge eating disorder is a compulsion to eat far more food in a session than the person wants to, with these binging sessions taking place regularly (a diagnosis typically is given for one binge a week for three months straight) and typically causing considerable distress to the person eating.
The difference between this and bulimia is that this food is not purged afterwards, and whilst there is a similarly unhealthy attitude to food, it manifests in a loss of control and subsequent negative feeling, which can lead to a cycle of binging.
Managing binge eating disorder is primarily about treating its cause, which typically involves guided support programmes, cognitive behavioural therapy and, in some cases, antidepressants if the binging is caused by depression.
It can sometimes be difficult to spot the early symptoms of a binge eating disorder. Many people occasionally overindulge and simply eating a lot of food is not in itself a symptom of a binge eating disorder.
It is about an unhealthy connection to food, and so whilst some people with binge eating disorder are overweight, others will fast or undertake strict diet regimens between binges so this is not in itself a symptom.
Instead, the main warning signs are based on their relationship with food and how they behave.
This can include a life organised around these episodes of binging, such as buying considerable amounts of food that is hoarded, as well as avoiding eating around other people and general isolation from social groups
Eating is often done very quickly, sometimes when a person is not hungry and sometimes until a person feels distressingly full.
Published: 30 October 2022
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