Understanding and overcoming binge-eating disorder (part 2)

Posted by Lisa Hardesty, Ph.D.
February 26, 2013

LisaHardestyPhDQ. What are the risk factors for binge-eating disorder?

A. Although the cause of binge-eating disorder is unknown, there are multiple risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the condition. 

These risk factors include:

  • Family history. Individuals whose family members have or have had an eating disorder are at a higher risk for developing a disorder themselves.
  • Psychological issues. Many people with binge-eating disorder have a history of depression or other psychological issues.
  • Diet. People with binge-eating disorder often have dieted in the past – sometimes excessively.
  • Age. Binge-eating disorder can strike at any age, but it typically appears in your teens or early 20s.

Q. Can you prevent binge-eating disorder?

A. There is no guaranteed way to prevent binge-eating disorder. However, talking with family and friends – especially children – about healthy body image and lifestyle choices is extremely helpful in fostering a positive self-image.  

Additionally, providing loved ones with support and comfort if they are having trouble with weight and eating may help keep their problems from progressing. 

Q. What help is available for eating disorders and weight management?

A. Speaking with your health care provider and pursuing professional assistance is always the best option if you have concerns about an eating disorder.  

Sharing your feelings, concerns and issues with loved ones can help you find support and assistance during this difficult time. There are also many support groups and websites that provide help and understanding to individuals and families dealing with eating disorders. 

Mayo Clinic Health System also offers the Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Relationship, Nutrition (LEARN) program, which is an effective weight management program that teaches important skills necessary to create lasting changes and maintain a healthy body weight. This program looks at many behavioral, environmental and psychological factors involved with eating patterns and unhealthy lifestyle choices. For more information about the LEARN program, please call 507-385-6500 or 507-385-5700. 

Binge-eating disorder can be devastating for you, your family and everyone else who cares about you. The good news is that with understanding and support, you can overcome binge-eating disorder and find healthy ways to maintain a positive body image and enhance your well-being.

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