Ask anyone to name an eating disorder and anorexia or bulimia will be the most popular response.
And yet, neither of these are considered the most common eating disorder. That particular title belongs to binge eating disorder (BED).
An estimated 47 per cent of Australians with an eating disorder suffer from BED, according to Eating Disorders Victoria, but because it only became recognised as a medical condition in 2013, it isn’t well known.
Unlike indulging in one too many Tim Tams, BED is marked by feeling out of control while eating, eating rapidly, continuing to eat once full, eating alone or in secret and feeling depressed or guilty about the binge afterwards, according to Mayo Clinic guidelines.
Unlike someone suffering from bulimia, those with BED don’t induce vomiting or take laxatives in an attempt to eliminate the excess calories consumed.
“[BED] differs in both the frequency and severity of the excessive eating behaviours, as well as the degree of distress that the behaviours cause,” clinical psychologist Dr Lara Winten told smh.com.au.
According to the Mayo Clinic, binges involve eating unusually large volumes of food in a specific amount of time, such as a two hour period. The severity of the disorder is determined by how many binge episdoes occur within the course of a week.
If you suspect you may suffer from BED, speak to your GP for treatment.