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Binge Eating Common in Men, Too

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Binge eating, which is typically thought of as a woman's problem, is actually just as prevalent in men. A new study found that an estimated 8 million Americans struggle with the issue, which leads to depression, obesity, problems at work and other impairments. Binge eaters typically eat in secret, gorging on large amounts of food, and end up feeling disgusted with themselves and out of control afterwards.

Anorexia and Bulimia, two other major eating disorders, are more likely to strike women compared to men but prevalence of binge eating is nearly the same for both groups, with 11% of women and 8% of men admitting the problem. Binge eating is characterized by eating more than 15,000 calories in two hours, occuring two more times per week that leads to feelings of depression and disgust. It may take longer for men to admit a problem since it is more acceptable for men to overeat compared to women. Ultimately, binge eating is about self-loathing and a desire to "numb" those feelings.

Binge eaters are typically obese, with 70% falling into this category because they do not purge. Binge eating can lead to severe health problems including Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease and metabolic syndrome. Binge eating also leads to devastating psychological effects including depression and anxiety. Although binge eating is a serious problem, it is not listed in the DSM, the manual for mental health professionals to diagnose mental illnesses. Binge eating may be difficult to treat, but psychotherapy can be helpful to aid individuals to seek better and healthier coping mechanisms to deal with life problems and stressors.