Binge-Eating Disorder— 25% of Teenage Indian Girls Suffer From It!

Binge-eating disorder is a mental health condition. We are a generation who consider overeating a problem only if we keep gaining weight. Even so, we associate it only with obesity.

Food is of fashion now. From social media to blogs and videos on YouTube, Posts related to food are the most watched. Everyone is a #Foodie in today’s world. The craze for tasting different cuisines has reached a new level. But have you ever heard of people suffering from a binge-eating disorder?

From nibbling on mouth-smacking savouries from street food shops to feasting on Biryani, our life is all about food. Just as Nestle’s famous slogan goes, “Good Food, Good Life,” Food makes us all happy. Or does it?

However, in a parallel universe, some people struggle to have a sane relationship with food. In a world where binge-eating is a fashion statement, Bulimia is the cuisine you wouldn’t want to taste.

At a time when everyone embraces binge-eating and wears the overeater tag as a badge of honour, a good number of people, including a handful of celebrities across the world, have opened up about their experiences with the eating disorders.

Binge-eating disorder is also known bulimia

We are a generation who consider overeating a problem only if we keep gaining weight. Even so, we associate it only with obesity. No one ever explores the option of it being psychological.

Binge-eating disorder is a mental health condition. In psychological parlance, it is called Bulimia Nervosa. And it can become potentially life-threatening if not treated in time.

Binge-Eating Disorder— 25% of Teenage Indian Girls Suffer From It!

What do numbers say about binge-eating disorder?

Studies suggest that 50-75% of those with a BMI over 40 might suffer from this disorder. Also, around 25% of teenage Indian girls suffer from several eating disorders.

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Binge-eating disorders or Bulimia are highly prevalent among the adolescent age group. This disorder is ten times more common in females than in males.

Getting to know all about bulimia

Well, most people with this disorder discover it in the hardest way. There are days they lose control over their eating habit and consume above the usual level. They obviously couldn’t help it! That’s when most people realize they suffer from an eating disorder.

If you or someone you know is often eating an abnormally large amount of food over a relatively short period of time, it might be an early sign. However, some symptoms tell us if we or someone we know has a binge-eating disorder.

Binge-Eating Disorder— 25% of Teenage Indian Girls Suffer From It!

The symptoms to look out for

  • Dental problems
  • Vomiting
  • Developing a strong negative self-image
  • Heartburn, indigestion, and bloating
  • Constipation
  • Irregular periods in women
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain and loss
  • Withdrawal from social activities

And there is a lot to it. These are mostly the visible signs that are easy to identify. Now arises an important question. What is the reason for overeating?

Causes of binge-eating disorder

Although the exact causes of Bulimia are unknown, factors such as genetics, societal expectations, and emotional health can be responsible for the development. 

There is immense pressure on young people from society to look good; especially teen girls, who are more susceptible to bulimia, start showing signs of eating disorder in their childhood. The impossible standards of beauty are always changing, but “being thin” has been a constant expectation. 

Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, tends to start in late childhood or early adulthood. You usually binge and purge in secret. You feel disgusted and ashamed when you binge, and relieved once you purge.

People with bulimia usually weigh within the normal range for their age and height. But they may fear gaining weight, want to lose weight, and feel very dissatisfied with their bodies. [conti. reading]

What will happen if it is left untreated?

If not paid proper attention, it may lead to severe health implications. It is commonly associated with depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid, and menstrual abnormalities.

For example: we need energy, even our brain and body needs nutrition to function. Prolonged starvation can lead to malnutrition, which can destroy our endocrine system!

We can end up with hurt gastrointestinal system, and decrease in nutrients in the body would lead to the destruction of neurons and even reduced brain volume, which will create neurological issues! [Read further]

Binge-Eating Disorder— 25% of Teenage Indian Girls Suffer From It!

Is there a cure?

The first step is to seek a doctor’s help, on the basis of assessment the patient will be guided into their treatment. Treatment for Bulimia involves both psychological counselling and medications.

  • Therapy: Most of the time, people with binge-eating disorders lose control and fail at establishing clean eating habits. It is imperative to seek professional help at these times. These are trying times. And with the support of a psychologist or a psychiatrist, you can come out clean without giving chances for relapse. And reaching out to a psychologist is the first step.
  • Medication: Occasionally, anti-depressants and similar types of medications are prescribed to pair with nutritional treatment. But all of these decisions are taken after through check up.
  • Self-Care: Something as simple as exercising daily for 30-40 minutes can help. Being in routine helps the body maintain the cycle of familiarity.

Dealing with Bulimia is not as easy as it sounds. But it can be brought into control. There is a huge stigma around mental health and eating disorder.

Many times, a person suffering is afraid to ask for help due to fear of being ostracized. Friends and family members should show support so that treatment can be availed faster.

That doesn’t mean we should be disheartened and lose faith in therapy and treatment. All it takes is the intent to seek help and work it out. There is always a way out!

Image Source: Imaginaryparty, and Elena Yeromenko, Oleskandar Kozemenko and SB Arts Media via Getty Images, free on Canva Pro

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Swetha Krishnan

This is Swetha Krishnan, the Director of Communications and Writer at ThreeBestRated. read more...

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