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diagnosis

Binge eating disorder

Diagnosis

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the U.S., affecting about 2-5% of adults. We’ve all heard people joke about devouring a pint of ice cream in one sitting or "eating their feelings," but BED is a lot more complicated than that. Binge eating is characterized by recurrent episodes of consuming large quantities of food, often in a short period of time, to the point of discomfort. It can make you feel awful, both physically and emotionally. The psychological impact—including feeling a loss of control during the binge and experiencing distress, shame, or guilt afterwards—is serious and real. The physical toll can be serious too: people with BED often develop medical conditions associated with obesity, like heart disease and diabetes, as well as mental health issues, like depression. They are often socially isolated and may have trouble functioning at work and in social situations. Here’s the good news: you can get help to control binge eating, and you are definitely not alone. If you feel that way, reach out to your WanaFam for support. Having a support system as you seek out treatment can make a huge difference (and that goes for any chronic condition!). Suggested treatments include psychological approaches (such as interpersonal psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy) and medication. Some people have found success with alternative treatments, like Appetite Awareness Training, which involves increasing your awareness of hunger cues and using motivational journaling to retrain your eating habits. Additional self-care steps you can take include avoiding any weight loss diets, eating healthy, nutritious meals on a regular schedule (don’t skip breakfast!), and steering clear of foods you might be tempted to binge on. And, of course, being patient with yourself as you take steps towards recovery. These are big changes, and they don’t happen overnight.

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