Is it a case of binge eating or overeating? The Difference and How to Ask for Help

For many people, overeating is a regular and everyday occurrence in their lives. If you’re bored or anxious, it’s possible that you’ll overeat. During special events such as vacations or holidays such as Thanksgiving, you may be able to consume more calories even if you are already full.

However, when can overeating become a cause for worry, or even a medical issue such as binge eating disorder (BED)?

Occasionally indulging in an extra helping of dessert does not imply that you have BED. However, consuming huge amounts of food on a continuous basis while feeling out of control may signal the presence of an underlying problem.

Overeating vs. binge eating disorder: what’s the difference?

Overeating and binge eating disorder are two very distinct problems. Knowing the difference can assist you in determining whether or not you have a condition.

What makes them different?

It is not the same as having BED to be overindulgent. In contrast to overeating, which is a rare and momentary event, BED is a more significant and persistent disorder.

With BED, you overeat out of habit, which means you eat to make yourself feel good even when you are not hungry.

Some professionals believe that compulsive overeating is synonymous with binge eating disorder (BED), despite the fact that some experts believe it is a defining aspect of the disease rather than the condition itself.

Other factors that distinguish BED from overeating are as follows:

  • Over the course of six months, you binge on a consistent basis (at least twice per week).
  • Bingeing is an extremely distressing experience for you. A binge eating disorder is not likely if you do not have any negative emotions associated with your eating.
  • Having to eat in front of others is something you dislike doing. You dine alone on a regular basis, although the majority of individuals eat with friends or family.
  • You are not aware of any physiological signs, such as hunger or fullness, that you could be experiencing. When you’re angry or depressed, you eat to soothe yourself.

Binge eating disorder symptoms

Identifying whether or not your overeating is a cause for concern might be difficult to determine. You can tell if you are suffering from BED by taking a look back at your eating habits. Consider whether or not any of the following assertions applies to you personally:

  • My ability to quit eating on certain days was hampered by my desire to do so.
  • It always amazes me how much food I can consume in a short period of time on some days.
  • When I realize how much food I’ve devoured, I’m filled with remorse and regret.
  • Every night, it seems, I go to bed with the thought in mind, “Tomorrow, I’m going to quit bingeing.”

Most of these statements may indicate that you are suffering from BED, therefore answer “yes” to as many as possible. It’s important to get medical advice or professional treatment for BED if you believe you might have it. Your illness can only be diagnosed by a certified mental health expert.

If you eat too much, is that an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are not regarded to be present when overeating occurs on a regular basis. A common aspect of BED is overeating on a frequent or obsessive basis, particularly if you feel out of control during these moments. Overeating can also be a sign of other eating disorders as well, like bulimia nervosa.

Identifying when you should seek assistance

Asking for help is a good idea if you believe you have BED. No matter how serious your symptoms appear to be, a doctor can provide you with further information and assistance.

Talking with a primary care physician is often the initial step in receiving treatment for many people. He or she can send you to an eating disorder specialist who can diagnose you and recommend you to treatment for your issue. A medical professional can also make recommendations on treatment alternatives, such as counseling or medication.

In terms of treating BED, it is important to remember that weight loss regimens are often thought to be ineffective. Instead of following the advice of your doctor or therapist, consider consulting with a different healthcare provider who takes a “weight-neutral” or “health at every size” approach to health and wellness instead.

Fernanda Avila

Fernanda Avila is a freelance writer who's passionate about providing accurate and helpful mental health content for readers. She believes sharing information can help raise awareness and improve society wellbeing.

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