Lots of people find comfort in food, but binge eaters feel a total loss all control over what they are eating. Binge eating is so associated with guilt and shame that most people binge in secret. Parents may discover that food is missing or find food and wrappers hidden in the house. Most of the time, family members underestimate the problem. Binge eaters are typically very restrictive in their diets in between binges. Dieting is a significant trigger of binge eating in adolescents.
Over eating and poor eating habits are associated with an increased risk of weight gain which, over time, may lead to obesity. Even so, it’s important to remember that not all overweight kids and adults binge eat and few develop binge eating disorder. When binge eating disorder does occur, it tends to develop after obesity is already present. Childhood depression is also a risk factor for developing binge eating. Depressed children are more likely to have poor body image and negative self-concept, which may drive inappropriate dieting. Dieting is a major factor associated with the onset of binge eating in adolescents. Kids who are distressed about their weight should also be screened for vomiting after eating.