Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious eating disorder that involves consuming large amounts of food over relatively short periods — in many cases, a person with BED will be unable to stop eating even when they feel full or no longer even want to be eating. It's a condition that can affect people of any age, gender, or ethnic background, so children and young adults may often suffer.
While this can be a stressful experience for both the child and their parents or caregivers, there is help available. With that in mind, it's worth knowing the common signs of BED if you believe your child might be suffering.
Here are just four of the most common signs.
1. Eating Too Quickly
People suffering from BED often find it hard to control themselves while they are eating. As such, you may notice that your child seems to be eating much faster than they used to. This may occur even when they are consuming a regular amount of food during family meals. If your child regularly eats faster than they should, they may start to complain of stomach pain or other digestive issues after meals.
2. Concealing Behaviour
Children suffering from BED will often take food when you aren't looking in an attempt to conceal their eating habits. This means you may notice that large amounts of food go missing relatively often. Since binge eating often involves feelings of shame or embarrassment, it's common for those suffering to further conceal their behaviour by sneaking food into the house or hiding stashes of it in their room.
3. Periods of Fasting
Though BED involves taking in too much food, this is often balanced by periods of denial or restriction. Even if your child is suffering from BED, you may sometimes notice they are actually trying to eat less than they should, often for days at a time. If you notice that they are regularly skipping meals without losing weight or showing any signs of low energy, they may be attempting to compensate for binge eating episodes.
4. Fluctuating Weight
Unlike bulimia, BED does not generally involve purging after meals. This means people with BED often gain weight relatively quickly. However, the fact that binge eating often occurs in episodes means someone suffering from the condition may show sudden weight gain followed by sudden weight loss. If your child starts to show such changes in their weight, they may have developed a BED.
Contact a company like Lightwork Nutrition to learn more.