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Beware of binging blues

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EATING AWAY Binge Eating Disorder is common
EATING AWAY Binge Eating Disorder is common

Binge Eating Disorder can lead to serious psychological effects

Binge Eating Disorder is a recently recognised condition and is seen affecting a sizable number of people both in and outside our country. People with this disorder eat sumptuously without control over their eating. Consuming large amounts of food does not mean that a person has Binge-Eating Disorder. But doctors still debate on this problem to determine the causes and symptoms and to arrive at a conclusion whether one has a real binge-eating disorder per se.Most people with this disorder eat abnormally large amounts of food, feel unable or incapacitated to control what or how much is being eaten, do the same rapidly than usual and until they are completely satiated and full. They eat even when physically and really not hungry; eat sometimes out of embarrassment at the poor quantity of food being eaten and sometimes feeling a disgust, depression or guilt over their own abnormal habits. Sometimes they become so obese by way of over-eating. And then purging, fasting or doing strenuous exercises are to be considered unhealthy ways to attempt weight control.Statistically, those who eat a lot and put on weight do so more than about 20 per cent above a healthy body weight and about two per cent of all adults are either affluent or hedonistic in nature. Among mildly obese people in self-help or commercial weight loss programme sector about 10 to 15 per cent have binge-eating disorder. With severe obesity, the disorder is even more common.

Women more prone

Psychologically, gender-wise, women are more prone to get affected by this disorder than men. The disorder affects `blacks' and `whites' and statistics in other ethnic groups is meagre or unknown precisely. With young obese people, this disorder is seen by frequent episodes of losing and regaining weight, which may be due to `Yo-Yo dieting'.The causes of Binge-Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) are still vague and unknown. Up to half of all people with this disorder have a lasting history of depression. Whether depression is a cause or effect of B.E.D. is still not known or it is unclear. Researchers opine that sadness, boredom, anxiety or such negative emotions can trigger a binge episode. Impulsive behaviour and certain other psychological issues are found more common in people with this disorder.Researchers are also looking into how brain chemicals and metabolism (the way, the body burns up the in-took calories of food) affect B.E.D. The major complications of B.E.D. are the diseases that accompany obesity. They include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, gall bladder diseases, heart diseases and certain types of cancer.

Effects of the disorder

People with this disorder are extremely unhappy and distressed by their unwholesome habits. Some with the disorder try to control it on their own, but most often they fail to succeed it their attempt for very long. Some people miss their work at offices, some in academic studies, yet some others in social involvements due to binge eating. Obese people with B.E.D. often feel bad about themselves, are pre-occupied with their own looks and appearance and avoid social gatherings. They often feel ashamed of their shapes and figures, try to hide their problems by keeping away from the society and gatherings and develop mental problems.Several methods are being used to treat binge-eating disorder. Cognitive behaviour therapy is tried to teach the patients to monitor and change their eating habits as well as to change the way they respond to difficult situations. Inter-personal psychotherapy is attempted to help them to examine their relationships with friends and members of the family and to make changes in problem areas. Treatment, with medication such as antidepressants, is given to help them to get out of their woods. Self-help group serve temporarily as a source of emotional support to these victims. Which method or combinations of methods will be most effective in controlling B.E.D. is a matter of perennial discussion between the patient and his/her health care provider to secure good prognosis.C. P. SOMASUNDARAM

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