(taken from Yahoo! contributor network)
When eating disorders are brought up, most people will envision a fragile, emaciated woman who suffers from anorexia. However, contrary to common belief, anorexia is not the most prevalent eating disorder. According to the Weight Control Information Network, “Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder; it affects approximately three percent of all adults in the United States.” Like anorexia and bulimia, binge eating disorder is an uncontrollable mental disorder that can ultimately result in death.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
In simplest terms, binge eating disorder is characterized by consuming a larger amount of food than is necessary for the body to feel satisfied. Binge eaters continue to eat long after the feeling of hunger has retreated. The recommended caloric intake for adults of a healthy weight range from 1,400 calories to 2,700 calories per day; of course, factors such as weight, gender and height contribute to the allotted daily caloric intake. It is not uncommon for binge eater to consume in excess of 7,000 calories per day. Those who suffer from binge eating disorder often report feeling in a trance when eating and not tasting the food they are consuming. Binge eaters who do not take part in compensatory behavior are either overweight or obese and often suffer from numerous health issues due to their weight.
From Binge Eating to Bulimia
Binge eating disorder has the ability to morph into bulimia over time. Binge eaters who feel ashamed, guilty and concerned with weight gain often turn to compensatory behavior in hopes of warding off weight gain from binges. Compensatory behavior is classified as any forceful method that is used to purge calories and food out of the body. When compensatory behavior is practiced directly after a binge twice a week or more for more than three months, this is the official beginning of bulimia. The NYU Child Study Center diagnoses bulimia with the following criteria, “Repeated episodes of binge eating, including eating an abnormally large amount of food and feeling a lack of control over your eating; compensatory behaviors occur at least twice a week for at least three month; self esteem is overly influenced by body shape and weight and the eating disorder behavior doesn’t occur during periods of anorexia.”
It is not uncommon for binge eaters to unknowingly turn into bulimics as a weight control method. Binge eaters and bulimics find it near impossible to follow a regimented diet for weight loss, so they turn to purging. Classic compensatory behavior to purge consumed food and calories out of the body are vomiting; excessive exercising; enemas; laxative abuse and fasting.