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Mental Mondays: Is Binge Eating A Lifestyle Choice Or A Mental Disorder?

Mental Mondays: Is Binge Eating A Lifestyle Choice Or A Mental Disorder?


“How could he do this to me? I thought we were actually in love?”. These are the unending thoughts that cloud her head as she hurriedly digs into her fourth beef burger in less than an hour. “When it’s all said and done, food is bae, food will never leave you”, she mumbles as she sips on her giant bottle of soda. This might be the case of some individuals who have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder. While some can easily pinpoint the triggers, others might have to dig deeper to detect the root cause. 

There’s a belief that binge eating is a lifestyle choice, but that’s untrue. This is because binge eating isn’t that occasional overfeeding at a wedding or random cravings. It’s an eating disorder that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with depression. While the main cause of binge eating disorder isn’t always known, it can be treated with the right medications and emotional support.

What is binge eating disorder?


Binge eating disorder is a condition where a person eats unusually large amounts of food within a short period of time, in spite of an uncomfortably full belly. They feel like they can’t control their eating and as a result, chow down on more food. Sometimes, it gets worse if they’re upset or sad because they seek comfort in food but this feeling of satisfaction speedily gets replaced by a feeling of guilt and/or shame. 

Symptoms of binge eating disorder

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If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, you may have binge eating disorder. However, the only way to correctly diagnose this is to pay your doctor a visit.

  • A habitual tendency to eat too much within a short period of time.
  • Loss of control while eating.
  • Feeling ashamed and disgusted about your eating habits.
  • Feelings of depression that only get better after the individual has eaten.
  • Stockpiling food to eat later. 

Causes of binge eating disorder

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While the exact cause of this disorder is unknown, there are factors that fuel it such as: 

  • Trauma: This could be a recent or past traumatic experience, or societal pressure that might lead to a poor self-image and ultimately, a binge eating disorder.
  • Mental health issues: Most people struggling with a mental health condition, especially depression, are at a higher risk of binge eating. 

Health implications of binge eating disorder

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There’re several health implications that could arise from this eating disorder. Some of which are:

  • Obesity
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart diseases
  • Diabetes 
  • Depression 

How can we curb its effects?


  • Support: The language every individual understands irrespective of race, religion, or social status is love. The journey towards recovery is usually more tolerable when the patient has a strong support system. 
  • Therapy: There’re various types of therapy effective in the treatment of binge eating disorder. For example, psychotherapy and group therapy led by a professional therapist can work wonders. This helps patients identify triggers and learn coping strategies to avoid acting on cravings.

As earlier established, binge eating disorder isn’t a choice but a mental illness, albeit treatable. Early detection goes a long way in stopping it right in its tracks.

When a craving doesn’t come from hunger, food is definitely not going to satisfy. Most times, we have to summon the courage and get to the root cause of the issues we face. That’s the first step towards recovery. Of course, it’s not easy, but in the long run, it will well be worth it. You’ll be fine, eventually. 

Photo Source: Ron Lach | Pexels

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