The Binge Eating Disorder

Dr Letizia Cingolani

Often people confuse eating disorders with anorexia and bulimia However anorexia and bulimia are much more famous among people because the media are very interested in them. But in recent times it has been defined another eating disorder category called  binge eating disorder.

In binge eating disorder blowouts are not as frequent as in bulimia and sufferers are not always obese. According to the DSM IV TR criteria in binge eating disorder the blowouts  are repeated at least twice a week for at least six month. It is characterized by ompulsive ingestion of large amounts of food in a relatively short time and without a real feeling of hunger. They are accompanied by the sense of lack of control over the act of eating during the episode.

During these binges the act of eating should follow at least three of the following criteria: it is faster than normal; it also occurs in the absence of hunger, leading to a painful feeling of overflow; it takes place in solitude; it is followed by a strong sense of self-loathing, depression or intense guilt. Therefore the distinctive trait of sufferers is a strong psychological distress, which often has the traits of a true depression, combined with the sense of frustration and reduced self-esteem.

What’s more, this disorder brings with it a whole series of organic problems, such as diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, hormonal disorders, sexual dysfunction, cardio-respiratory difficulties, and metabolic risk. So the psychological treatment for  binge-eating disorder is very difficult due to the complexity of the organic implications. So it is useful a multidisciplinary approach in which internists doctors can coordinate with psychiatrists and psychologists in order to guarantee the patient a good chance of recovery. The best psychological treatment seems to be to cognitive behavioral therapy to correct the mental and behavioral patterns that characterize this disorder.

It is necessary to help the person to understand the meaning of the inner void and after that it is important to fill it. Only by listening the person can learn to recognize what are the external and the internal stimuli (e.g. something that person says to herself) that  trigger binges, teach him to handle them in a different way. (Article published in the ANAP Magazine)

Dr. Cingolani’s Office is in Rome, near San Peter’s Church. If you want to contact her, you can write to this address:

Simone Venturini


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