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Binge Eating Disorder

Is Your Teenager Struggling with Binge Eating?

Sometimes it is very difficult to avoid temptation to eat extra food although your brain has signaled that you are done. This happens with almost all of us and does not mean you have an eating disorder. Many people tend to confuse their over eating habits with binge eating disorder (BED). People with binge eating disorder lose control over eating and tend to consume large amounts of food. These people eventually develop a feeling of guilt, shame, and feel deeply embarrassed about their eating habits. Diagnosis of BED is based on acknowledging the symptoms as per the criteria set by DSM-5. 

Although BED can affect people of any age, it is often seen to be very common among people who are in their late teens or early 20s. Many children or young adults tend to eat lot of food as they have a huge appetite. However, those with binge eating disorder eat large quantities of food on a regular basis and feel a lack of control over their eating. Many teens who struggle with binge eating disorder never get the treatment they need because they don’t report the problem and prefer binge eating alone to hide their behavior. 

Unlike bulimia, binge eater do not involve in purging behavior, instead they just feel guilty about their eating habits. Eating large quantities of food eventually makes these teens or children morbidly obese. Binge eaters can also develop other health problems, such as high blood pressure, depression  and overall low health fitness. 

Scientists have not listed the confirmed causative factors of BED yet. However there are psychological, genetic/biological, and social/cultural factors because of which teens develop BED. The major reasons for developing BED in teens could be:

  • Stress at school
  • Low self-esteem, loneliness
  • Psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety
  • Excessive dieting of self-starving in the early phase of life
  • Family conflicts
  • Family history of eating disorders

Some teenagers, especially girls, struggle to achieve a thin body image. This can conversely make them to start binge eating. Such people have a feeling of shame and guilt, which may further fuel their emotional eating. The major problem with BED is that it becomes a private or secret issue for many teens and thus often goes unnoticed by family members. It is important to understand that BED can be a serious medical condition and can lead to some serious psychological and physical problems. BED is not a phase that can pass on its own, it needs medical treatment. The treatment often includes a combination of strategies, such as psychotherapy nutrition education, medications and non-conventional approaches. 

 Few Warning Signs that your Teenager is Binge Eating
  • Noticing piles of empty packets of junk food
  • Lying about eating
  • Refusal to eat with you
  • Obsession with weight
  • Lack of confidence
What is your Role as a Parent?
  • Talk to your teenagers about eating habits
  • Explain the consequences of binge eating
  • Find ways to cope up with stress
  • Seek medical help


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