The opposite of anorexia nervosa is a condition known as “binge eating disorder” (BED). While anorexia nervosa involves restrictive eating patterns and an intense fear of gaining weight, binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating without compensatory behaviors such as purging or excessive exercise.
Here are some key features of binge eating disorder:
- Binge eating episodes: People with binge eating disorder regularly engage in episodes of excessive food consumption within a discrete period of time, typically feeling a loss of control during these episodes.
- Absence of compensatory behaviors: Unlike other eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa, individuals with binge eating disorder do not engage in compensatory behaviors like vomiting or excessive exercise to counteract the effects of the binge eating episodes.
- Emotional distress: Binge eating episodes are often accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. These emotional experiences may be associated with the overeating episodes themselves or with the resulting weight gain and body dissatisfaction.
- Lack of dietary restraint: People with binge eating disorder typically do not engage in strict dieting or severe food restriction between binge episodes. They may experience periods of normal or even increased eating between episodes.
- Frequent and distressing binge episodes: Binge eating disorder is diagnosed when these binge eating episodes occur at least once a week on average for three months or longer and cause significant distress or impairment in various areas of life.
It’s worth noting that while anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder represent opposite ends of the eating disorder spectrum, there can be some overlap or co-occurrence of symptoms between the two disorders. Both conditions require professional evaluation and treatment from healthcare providers and mental health specialists.