Binge-eating may not be as recognized as bulimia or anorexia, but it’s the most prevalent eating disorder in the United States. The condition affects 3 to 5% of American women, compared to the 1% affected by anorexia and 1 to 2% by bulimia. Unfortunately, fewer than 50% of patients seek out help for their binge eating disorder (BED).
As if the disorder isn’t crippling enough, a recent study links BED to a range of mental and physical health conditions – 44 illnesses to be exact. These cover disease affecting virtually every system in the body – from the brain (epilepsy) all the way down to the feet (ankle sprain).
The researchers studied the health information from 9,350 people, 95% of which were women. Using this data, they found that at least 44 negative conditions are linked to eating disorder, including migraine, hypertension, urinary tract infection, kidney inflammation, joint pain, hyperthyroidism, and more.
Do I Have BED?
The National Eating Disorder Association defines BED as a disorder marked by frequent episodes of consuming great amounts of food. The binge eater often feels a loss of control during the binge, and shame and guilt afterward. Unlike bulimic patients, they don’t normally purge to counter the binging.
Scientists have found that some people are more prone to develop binge eating problems than others. These may be people having difficulties controlling emotions or those with rigid beliefs and thinking style. It is also likely to be present in perfectionists, stress eaters, and those with anxiety and low self-esteem.
Seeking Freedom from BED
If the new study tells us anything, it’s that binge eating is not an abstract, intangible problem. It could very much be the cause, effect, or a concurrent symptom of potentially fatal conditions.
If you believe you have BED or know someone at risk, there’s only one right route from here: freedom. Healthcare professionals urge sufferers to seek counsel and treatment for their BED or any type of eating disorder as soon as they recognize the symptoms.