How Does Binge Eating Affect Your Body?

a woman holds one hand to her stomach while the other one holds a chicken drumstick and realizes how binge eating affects her body

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a life-threatening disorder characterized by episodes of eating extreme amounts of calories in short periods. It often happens even when you are not hungry. BED can have devastating mental and physical consequences, but a binge eating disorder program can help.

People with this eating disorder typically feel like they have no control during these episodes and often experience feelings of guilt and shame afterward. If you think you or someone you care about has a binge eating disorder and needs help, reach out to us at Sanford Behavioral Health at 616.202.3326.

What Are the Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder?

Many people with BED suffer from side effects of eating disorders, but these can vary depending on many different factors. It’s not always easy to tell when a person may have an eating disorder. Many people put forth great effort to hide their struggles.

Some of the symptoms of BED can include the following:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a short amount of time
  • Feeling depressed, guilty, or upset about eating habits
  • Feeling out of control with eating behaviors
  • Eating rapidly during binge episodes
  • Frequently eating in secret
  • Frequently dieting

A person with a binge eating disorder usually does not attempt to purge their food or exercise excessively as some people with anorexia or bulimia do.

How Does Binge Eating Affect Your Body?

A person with BED could be overweight, obese, or normal weight. Short-term and long-term effects of eating disorders like BED can be crippling and lead to permanent damage to major organs of the body if not treated promptly and effectively. So how does binge eating affect your body? While specific effects differ from one person to another, some generalized and common conditions are seen more often than others with a person who has BED. The side effects of eating disorders range from mental trauma to physical illness.

Some of the short- and long-term effects of eating disorders, specifically binge eating disorders, include the following:

Medical Problems

Binge eating can cause a series of severe medical problems. The most common ones are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and fatty liver disease.

Weight Gain and Obesity

Even though someone with a binge eating disorder may go on diets frequently and temporarily lose weight, they usually gain it back in the long run. As time goes by, their weight continues on an upward trend. The weight gain is primarily attributed to the number of calories people eat during binge episodes. Eventually, the person may become chronically obese. Obesity is a leading cause of health problems like stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more.

Psychological Effects of Eating Disorders

Binge eating often coincides with various mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and bipolar disorder. While some of these may be contributing factors to eating disorders, others are the results of them. The specific psychological effects of eating disorders like BED differ for everyone.

Additional Complications

Additional binge eating complications can also include poor quality of life and chronic social isolation due to intense shame about their food-related behaviors. A person can also suffer from problems focusing during school or functioning at work. Risk factors for developing an eating disorder include a family history of disordered eating, a history of dieting, and pre-existing mental health concerns.

Find Supportive Help at Sanford Behavioral Health

Although BED is a severe eating disorder, there is hope and help to be found with the proper treatment. You can get help for yourself or someone you care about by contacting Sanford Behavioral Health at 616.202.3326. We can help you learn more about how binge eating affects your body and mind and how to overcome this disorder.

addiction, eating disorders, mental health treatment

Sanford Behavioral Health is an addiction, eating disorder, and mental health treatment facility serving Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, and beyond. Our mission is to promote mental health, resilience, and well-being. Our goal is to provide practical and accessible substance use disorder, eating disorder, and mental health treatment to our patients. Sanford is led by a multi-disciplinary team offering integrative residential, outpatient and telehealth programs.