Binge eating a serious disorder, says dietician

A P.E.I. registered dietitian​ believes there isn't enough awareness of the eating disorder of binge eating.

Roxanne Laughlin wants more awareness on eating disorder

A P.E.I. registered dietitian​ believes there isn't enough awareness of the eating disorder of binge eating.

Dietitian Roxanne Laughlin says more than half her clients struggle with binge eating. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

Roxanne Laughlin said more than half her clients struggle with the disorder.

Binge eating is a disorder that is defined as a person eating excessively at least once a week over a three-month period and the person consumes much more food than normal in two hours.

"They do tend to often do this when they're alone, because they feel uncomfortable about people seeing how much they're eating," said Laughlin.

"So a lot of times I'll have clients tell me that they do it before somebody gets home from work. They eat by themselves. Or they will actually do take-out, go through the drive-through and pick things up and just eat, three large combo meals in the car, on their own.

"So there is that sort of shame factor to it," Laughlin said.

The health effects from binge eating may not be as severe as anorexia, which is the deadliest psychiatric disorder. There can still be consequences such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes.

The dietitian said many binge eaters are emotional eaters that have experienced trauma in the past.

But Laughlin said combating the disorder comes down to learning to recognize and control the triggers with a help of a psychologist or counsellor.

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