- A global study conducted by The Lancet Psychiatry in March, 2021, found that binge eating disorder accounted for the majority of eating disorders.
- The disorders are included in the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors study.
In a time of year defined by travel, family reunions and celebrations, there is one common denominator that features in the mix: food.
In the average family event, there is a special space, in addition to the kitchen, dedicated to the preparation of food, which in many cases, is precious nyama choma.
After the cooking is done, food is heartily served.
Each bite is only getting better, but how do you tell when things are getting a little bit out of hand? Is it just an overeating episode or is there more to this?
Kimani Kinuthia, psychiatric nurse at the Nyahururu County Referral Hospital, says that binge eating can be an occasional occurrence such as during events.
However, in advanced stages, it is a disorder called Binge Eating Disorder.
“Binge eating disorder is the excessive consumption of food without control," Kimani said.
"In some instances, it manifests during events where there is a lot of free food and people consume more than what they usually would."
“We classify it as a mental disorder and some causes of it include one’s socialisation around food, genetics. It could also point to mental conditions such as stress, depression or mental retardation,” he added.
A global study conducted by The Lancet Psychiatry in March, 2021, found that binge eating disorder accounted for the majority of eating disorders, with an estimated 17.3 million people in the world living with it.
This was compared to the other two widely known disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
The disorders are included in the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors study yet more people are living with BED and other specified feeding disorders.
Kimani also said that some of the symptoms that characterise occasional binge eating is the individual would recognise that they have eaten more than they normally consume.
However, others have little account for what they consume on a daily basis, a case common with those suffering from mental retardation.
“For those living with stress-related disorders, in many cases, their appetites change either positively or negatively meaning that some eat more while others less," Kimani said.
"For those who change positively, binge eating is a common occurrence because in this case, it is used as a source of comfort.”
Research by the National Eating Disorders Association also suggests that a larger number of men are being diagnosed with BED, with the rate currently at 40 per cent male.
(Edited by Amol Awuor)