How to Tell if Your Loved One Has Binge Eating Disorder or Bulimia Nervosa

Although almost everyone has heard of well-known eating disorders like binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa, not everyone can spot the difference in their symptoms. Since education about eating disorders and early intervention are both important parts of making a recovery, it’s essential to learn more about them to make a diagnosis and get started on eating disorder recovery. As parents or loved ones trying to help search for the best bulimia nervosa treatment centers, detailed information regarding these serious mental health conditions can help to provide peace of mind.

Binge Eating Disorder vs Bulimia Nervosa

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder isa widespread mental health condition in which people feel compelled to consume a large amount of food within a short period., repeating this behavior regularly and consistently over months or years. With this type of eating disorder, people feel out-of-control over their eating habits, frequently engaging in binge eating episodes when they aren’t hungry or eating past the point of being full. They may also experience feelings of shame, disgust, and guilt regarding their binge eating behaviors.

Unlike most eating disorders, people with binge eating disorder do not experience significant weight loss or take measures to reduce or purge the calories they take in, although they commonly go on and off diets. The intake of mass amounts of calories often leads to obesity and other health risks. Most commonly, people with binge eating disorder have a higher risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Intestinal complications
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Certain types of cancer

Bulimia Nervosa

Like binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa is characterized by engaging in regular binge eating episodes, but the difference is that these binges are y followed by some form of purging behaviors that may include:

  • Self-induced vomiting (the most common form)
  • Excessive exercise
  • Laxative and/or diuretics abuse
  • Fasting
  • Enemas

In more severe cases, bulimia nervosa leads to purging after regular meals as well as after binge eating episodes. People with the condition usually have a distorted view of their body and consider themselves overweight even when they are underfed or malnourished. Purging can quickly result in severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, irregular heartbeat, tooth decay, esophageal damage, etc. If left untreated, these health complications can also take a great toll on the heart and in some cases, may result in heart failure.

Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Centers

The more early on a person seeks help for an eating disorder, the more likely a complete recovery can be achieved. Specialized treatment for adults and adolescents can not only help them develop more positive eating habits but can help them restructure their lives to better their relationship with food and eating when treatment is over.

When looking for an eating disorder treatment center, keep these key factors in mind:

  • Make sure the person wants to get help and is aware they have a problem. Look closely at their relationship with food and eating behaviors and talk to them. Be careful not to be accusing or confrontational, and let them know you want to help.
  • It is very common for individuals with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder to turn to fad dieting in order to control their weight and body shape. This is a clear warning sign that there may be a problem – make sure the center you contact is aware of your diet history (or your loved one’s).
  • Evaluate one’s personal beliefs about eating. A balance of eating for nourishment and enjoyment is ideal. The binge eating episodes in both binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa are known to be devoid of enjoyment. Sometimes the person will eat past the point of feeling pain, and the purging experience is also unpleasant.
  • Seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Whether the person notices their disordered behaviors on their own or a family member suspects there is an issue, speaking with a doctor sooner rather than later is best.