Binge Eating: Part 2 Adult binge eating begins in childhood.

Binge Eating: Part 2
Adult binge eating begins in childhood.

Dear Readers!

Many people who suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) often feel powerless to stop their binges, they feel like they’ve lost all control over how much they’re eating and that they just can’t STOP. In the aftermath of a binge feelings of hopelessness, anger, fear, shame and worthlessness sink in. This further pushes one into a state of melancholy, deeper into a cycle of disordered eating and causes great deal of anxiety and stress. It is important that we take sometime out of our busy Disordered world of Eating to examine ourselves and to gain understanding of why we feel compel to under eat, over eat, binge eat and starve ourselves. Once we understand ourselves and learn to love and respect ourselves, we can beat any disorder in the world. Please find below an article by Dr Cris Haltom and I hope it will help you to gain understanding of vicious cycle of BED.

By: Dr Chris Haltom

About two percent of the general population of adults struggles with binge eating. At least 4 million Americans have binge eating disorder (ANAD newsletter, Summer, 2003). Many adults who struggle with binge eating problems started their struggles as children.

Binge eating is loosely defined as eating an inordinately large amount of food in a short amount of time accompanied by feelings of loss of control. Binge Eating Disorder (BED), or compulsive overeating, is characterized by repeated binges without (1) the ability to control the behavior, (2) without purging and (3) without extreme measures to control weight. Sometimes bingeing is defined more loosely to include “grazing”, or eating continually, in smaller amounts, over time when not physically hungry. To be diagnosed with binge eating disorder binge eating episodes have to take place on at least two days per week over six months period of time.

Dr. Christopher Fairburn’s classic book, Overcoming Binge Eating (1995), gives the following excerpt from an interview with a binge eater: “It starts off with my thinking about the food I deny myself when I am dieting. This soon changes into a strong desire to eat. First of all it is a relief and a comfort to eat, and I feel quite high. But then I can’t stop, and I binge. I eat and eat frantically until I am absolutely full. Afterward I feel so guilty and angry with myself (p. 3).”

Research has shown that obese women with binge eating disorders became overweight at a younger age. Among obese children and teens, the incidence of binge eating ranges from 18% to 35% among girls and 27% to 37% among boys. (Eating Disorders Review, 2003). Some will be surprised to learn that such a small percentage of obese children suffer from binge eating problems. A common misperception is that binge eating is the cause of most obesity. Obesity can exist in the absence of binge eating . And binge eating can exist in the absence of obesity.

Gender differences appear to be less common among obese young people with binge problems than are noted in young people with anorexia or bulimia. Boys and girls with obesity are about equally prone to demonstrate binge eating problems. Girls more commonly suffer from anorexia and bulimia.

The most common ages for onset of Binge Eating Disorder (BED) are 14, 16 and 18 years of age (p.88, Fairburn, 1995). Binge eating may be a response to food deprivation, self-soothing in the face of negative emotions, or a form of self-punishment.


Fairburn, Christopher (1995) Overcoming Binge Eating, New York, The Guilford Press.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), “Working Together” Newsletter, Summer 2001, Summer 2003.

Bulik, Cynthia M. et al (2003) “Genetic and environmental contributions to obesity and binge eating,” The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33:3, 293-298.

Eating Disorders Review (2003) “Binge eating can begin early in life,” Gurze Publications, 14:3, 7.


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