Binge Eating Affects Women of All Ages; How to Identify Risks

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, are psychiatric illnesses that lead to significant physical and mental complications due to unhealthy eating patterns. It extends beyond the misconception that an eating disorder is a lifestyle choice or a diet gone wrong. Moreover, the risk of developing an eating disorder is 2.5 times greater among women compared to men.

A common warning sign of eating disorders is one’s obsession with his or her shape, body weight and the kind of food consumed. Eating disorders develop in various forms, with some involving intentionally throwing up to continue eating and some include intense exercising. It affects men and women regardless of age, social status, place, gender, ethnicity, etc., and it also has the highest mortality rate among all psychiatric illnesses.

One of the most common eating disorders witnessed in the United States is binge eating that neither involves regurgitation of food nor includes any exercise. It is a disorder that is more common in women than in men. It affects 1.2 percent of the American adult population, with a lifetime prevalence of 2.8 percent.

Unlike other eating disorders, people suffering from binge eating tend to compulsively consume a large amount of food at one time. The condition leads to the feeling of loss of control over food that in turn causes the problem of obesity and overweight. Despite being quite apparent in people, especially women, they fail to identify the warning signs, leading to the worsening of the condition.

As in the case of other eating disorders, even binge eating generally develops during adolescence, with increased chances of witnessing the problem even in adulthood. Therefore, it is essential to identify the warning signs to address the challenges of binge eating disorder.

Risks of binge eating among women

Unlike anorexia or bulimia, women with binge eating disorder are often obese and overweight. The symptoms or side effects of this psychiatric disorder affect the way they eat and exercise. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), women with this condition tend to feel that they are out of control and indulge in binge eating once a week for at least three months.

Their eating patterns entail consuming edibles at a rate faster than the average and feeding themselves until they are uncomfortable. This pattern of eating persists even when they not hungry and often times this becomes a source of self-perceived disgust and embarrassment. Binge eating disorder shares a strong link with the development of depression as well as the onset of other eating disorders.

With over half of the people suffering from binge eating disorder being women, it affects more than 3 percent of the female population. In addition, binge eating is also more pronounced among women of Hispanic, Asian-American and African-American descents. However, the phenomenon of binge eating in these ethnic groups is not fully understood. Besides, some other risk factors for binge eating among women are as follows:

  • Women who diet are 12 times more likely to binge eat than others.
  • This disorder is commonly observed among young and middle-aged women.
  • Prevalence of binge eating disorder is increasing among the older women population.

The onset of binge eating disorder in women is attributed to a combination of biological factors and personal traumatic experiences. Some of the common risk factors involving both mental illnesses and eating disorders are genetics, biology, body image, self-esteem, social experience, family history of related conditions and other mental health problems.

Some research suggest that binge eating provides an outlet to anger, melancholy, boredom, anxiety and stress. Therefore, the symptoms of binge eating disorder can also appear as the side effect of other underlying mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, etc. Women with this disorder are susceptible to developing a plethora of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallbladder disease, certain forms of cancer and problems related to their menstrual cycle.

These problems not only affect a woman’s ability to carry out her daily tasks, but also trigger other mental and physical health complications. Fortunately, binge eating and other forms of eating disorders can be treated in a medical set-up.

Recovery road map

Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States. It involves uncontrollably consuming a lot of food in a session that can lead to some serious health problems over time. It is advisable to seek professional assistance to prevent the aggravation of the symptoms of this condition.

Sovereign Health of Arizona understands the plight of a woman coping with any mental issue, such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, etc. Our state-of-the-art treatment center in Arizona is one of the best women’s mental health facilities in Chandler that allows patients to gain access to comprehensive and individualized behavioral health treatment in a safe and supportive environment. Call us at 24/7 helpline number 866–598–5661 to know more about the treatment options available at our facility, which is ranked in the top among the mental health treatment centers for women in Arizona.