Binge Eating Disorder and Diabetes (Part 2)


I’d like to start off by thanking those people who posted comments and questions about binge eating disorder (BED) on my previous blog entry ("Binge Eating Disorder and Diabetes [Part 1]"[1]) over the last week. Some of you have shared that you have BED, while others are perhaps questioning the possibility. Arming yourself with facts about BED can help you and your health-care team determine whether you have this disorder and, if so, how to get the right treatment.

So, what causes BED? Well, as with many conditions, there’s probably no one single cause, but here are some likely culprits:

While the exact cause or causes of BED are a little murky, what we do know is that someone with BED is more likely to be overweight or obese, which in turn raises the risk for heart disease[5], Type 2 diabetes[6], high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea[7], and possibly certain types of cancer. Interestingly, a few studies have found that BED may be more common in people who already have Type 2 diabetes (ranging anywhere from 2.5% to 26%) than in to people who don’t. People with Type 2 diabetes and BED tend to be younger, have a higher body-mass index[8] (BMI), and have more depression than in those without BED. And BED is more common in women with diabetes than in men with diabetes.

If you think you may have BED (or any kind of eating disorder), it’s important to seek medical help. Aside from the possible health consequences, you may end up missing more days from work or school, avoiding friends and social activities, and having difficulty enjoying life overall.

Treatment of BED focuses on treating the eating disorder first and losing weight, if needed, second. Concurrent psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety, must be addressed as well. There are several possible forms of treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy that centers on problem-solving skills and learning healthy habits; psychotherapy; and medication (including use of antidepressants[9], appetite suppressants, and antiseizure drugs). Weight loss may not be recommended until the BED is treated, unless it’s medically supervised. Very-low-calorie diets can actually trigger BED.

To wrap up, if you think you may have BED, talk to your health-care provider. He or she should be able to refer you to a mental health care provider and/or an appropriate eating disorder treatment program.

  1. "Binge Eating Disorder and Diabetes [Part 1]":
  2. depression:
  3. anger:
  4. stress:
  5. heart disease:
  6. Type 2 diabetes:
  7. sleep apnea:
  8. body-mass index:
  9. antidepressants:

Source URL:

Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.

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