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Eating Disorders

Binge Eating Leading To Health Problems

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At USNews.com, it's been revealed that binge eating is the most prevalent of American eating disorders. And, as it is closely linked to the rising epidemic of obesity in America, its misdiagnosis could be contributing to serious health problems for many Americans. Debate still rages over how to deal with this troubling and poorly understood problem, including whether or not health insurance plans should cover the treatment of eating disorders.

According to The Journal of Biological Psychiatry, people with eating disorders are 4 times more likely to suffer from binge eating, although it's anorexia and bulimia that still get the most press. Those people who suffer from binge eating also tend to suffer from health problems that have long-term implications: they're "five times as likely to be severely obese, which puts them at a greater risk of obesity-related problems like heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and colon cancer," according James Hudson, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Like drug addiction and alcoholism, binge eaters respond to food with the same brain chemistry of an addict. And, though the public would like to attribute this disease to women only, more and more it's a man thing as well.

The first nationwide survey on eating disorders to be reported this year found that about 850,000 men had also suffered from eating disorders, including binge eating. There is also some data that heredity could play a role in the many health problems faced by these individuals, but for the most part it's been linked to environment, including the tremendous proliferation of fast food restaurants, a lack of education regarding serious health care issues, and a dangerous preoccupation with thinness that leads to binge eating.

The health problems that tend to come out of this disorder are ofen difficult to treat, since they are so closely involved with their emotional and psychological responses. These would include issues of self-esteem, feelings of a loss of control, depression, and more.

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Eating Disorders

Did you know...
Binge eating has been reported as the most prevalent of eating disorders
And, of course these same health problems are also very costly to society as a whole. Health insurance rates have been skyrocketing as more and more Americans deal with the costs of being unhealthy. Obesity costs America over $70 billion dollars annually in health care, and the ever-growing need for prescription medications is also negatively influencing health insurance premiums.

There is a lot of debate regarding whether eating disorders should be covered by health insurance, and whether or not that coverage should fall under a psychological treatment, or be classified as general health care. However, until binge eating and other eating disorders are better understood by doctors and average people alike, the personal, social, and economic costs of such a problem will only continue on, effecting more than just those who suffer from the disease itself.

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