Binge eating disorder, which is far more prevalent than either anorexia or bulimia, is characterized by eating abnormally large amounts of food rapidly, even when a person isn’t hungry. This binge episode is followed by feelings of self-loathing, guilt and shame. Sufferers eat alone or in secret and don’t purge afterwards like people with bulimia.
Because it was only recognized as a treatable diagnosis in 2013, mental health experts aren’t entirely sure as to why binge eating disorder occurs. However, there are a few possible contributors to the condition.
1. Emotional State
There appears to be a connection between binge eating disorder, self-esteem, and emotional stress. People who have a negative self-image may be more vulnerable to the disorder. Work or relationship problems, loneliness, and boredom can all play a role in triggering a binge eating episode. Counteracting social isolation is one reason why support groups can be helpful in treating this type of mental disorder.
2. Mental Health
There is a correlation between several mental health issues and binge eating disorder. People who are diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety may also be at risk for binge eating disorder. Those who struggle with substance abuse or addiction issues may also engage in binge eating behaviors.
You’re more likely to have binge eating disorder if you have a family history of disordered eating, including anorexia and bulimia. Additionally, because women are more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than men, gender itself can carry a genetic component. Certain personality traits, like perfectionism or obsessive thinking, can also contribute.