When you hear about eating disorders, it's not unusual to think of anorexia nervosa and bulimia, as they are more common and have become more well-known in recent years. However, you might not know about or be overly familiar with binge eating, which includes episodes of secretive, excessive food consumption without purging. Nighttime eating disorder is also not a well-known problem and may manifest with binge-eating primarily or exclusively at night, usually without purging, and in secret. Therefore, if your son or daughter has recently been diagnosed with one of those rarer eating disorders, it's important to be aware of the information shared below.
Understanding Binge-Eating Disorder
Binge eating is not what happens at many holiday dinners or buffet restaurants, where you might occasionally over-indulge in some of your favorite or rarely available foods. Instead, it can be described as that behavior occurring in private, with feelings of shame for doing so and the inability to stop eating, even when full.
Binge eating is similar to bulimia, in that the patient engages in excessive consumption of food, long after hunger is sated and to the point of significant discomfort or pain. However, the sufferer will not purge that food and is likely to feel guilt or shame about the perceived gluttony. In addition, while the purging associated with bulimia often permits the patient to maintain a normal or near-normal weight, binge-eating frequently results in becoming overweight or obese.
Binge eaters rarely enjoy their food. Unfortunately, since they will often gain weight as the result of their eating disorder, they can develop problems associated with obesity such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Prompt and personalized care from experts is usually needed for long-term recovery, and the sufferer being able to simply stop binge eating without help is not common.
Understanding Night-Eating Syndrome
A nighttime eating disorder can often best be described as binge eating, only it manifests exclusively or almost exclusively at night. Very little food might be consumed during the day. If your son or daughter has this issue, you may notice food and candy wrappers, as well as evidence of high-calorie beverages, in their room. While night eating frequently involves over-consumption of food, it does not have to, but eating alone and experiencing shame for doing so are common symptoms.
Hiding their symptoms tends to be very important to the majority of people living with an eating disorder, as is denying that they have a problem. In addition, if your teenager has a part-time job or gets an allowance, yet does not seem to have any money, it might be because those funds are being spent on food they can hide in their bedroom.
In conclusion, there are many eating disorders and behaviors that exist besides the anorexia and bulimia that people tend to be familiar with. If your child is symptomatic of an eating disorder discussed above, it's essential to get an accurate diagnosis and access appropriate care as soon as possible. To learn more, contact a center for eating disorder treatments.