Binge eating disorder is currently classified as an atypical eating disorder. In terms of eating disorders, binge eating disorder is a relatively newly recognised eating disorder and most people without particular knowledge or experience of the disorder may not have heard of it. Over the last few years however there has been a great deal of research into binge eating disorder and it is now treated as seriously as other eating disorders.
Binge eating disorder is similar to bulimia in many ways. Sufferers have episodes of binge eating, i.e. consuming what others would consider an unusually large amount of food in a short period of time, along with a feeling a lack of control. What separates people with binge eating disorder from people with bulimia is that there is no attempt to control their weight by purging (e.g. vomiting, laxative abuse, etc.). People with binge eating disorder are often overweight and usually have an intense dissatisfaction with their body and a strong desire to lose weight. Many people with binge eating disorder begin the day by eating very little which in turn triggers an episode of binge eating in a similar way to the bulimia cycle.
People with binge eating disorder are usually very secretive about their binge eating which means sufferers rarely seek or receive support for their symptoms and often do not even recognise that their problems with eating is considered as a mental health disorder for which help is available.
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