Contrary to what most people believe, not everyone with an eating disorder is underweight.
Many people are familiar with Anorexia and Bulimia as eating disorders, however, very few people are aware of Binge-Eating Disorder (BED). This is largely due to the fact that most people can relate to overeating from time to time, and simply see it as a matter of harmless over-indulgence, but for people with BED, it is a lot more multifaceted and complicated. Individuals who suffer with BED have a compulsion to often over eat and consume abnormally large amounts of food while feeling a loss of control and the inability to stop themselves. For them, consuming food is a complex battle of compulsion engulfed by isolation, secrecy and shame, which often leads to depression and feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness.
Although binge eating disorder can occur in people of average body weight, it is more common in people with obesity.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BED:
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is not about food alone. There is a strong link between anxiety, depression and binge eating which is why it has been recognized as a psychiatric disorder. Many binge eaters suffer from depression and/or anxiety as well as difficulty with impulse control and managing and expressing their feelings. Low self-esteem, loneliness, and body dissatisfaction may also contribute to this eating disorder.
Painful childhood experiences such as family problems and critical comments about your shape, weight, or eating, are also associated with developing binge eating disorder. Research has shown that BED also runs in families, and there may be a genetic component as well.
Another common trigger among people with BED is dieting, as well as physical or psychological stress in a person’s life such as a highly stressful job, an accident, death of a loved one, job loss or a break-up. Similar to an addict, there is a psychological reinforcement of the behavior because binge eating temporarily relieves emotional pain, even though the behavior will most likely lead to feelings of guilt, disgust and self-loathing.
Recognizing the symptoms of BED is vital in correctly confirming the diagnosis and finding the best treatment. These symptoms include:
The consequences of BED involve many physical, social, and emotional difficulties. These may include:
Most mental health care professionals agree that binge eating is a coping mechanism for unresolved personal problems such as an unhappy childhood, the loss of a loved one, relationship conflicts, significant life changes, depression, anxiety or underlying social problems. The goal is to identify the specific issue linked to the destructive eating behavior, recognise it, and then make constructive changes.
Our relationships with food is incredibly complex and obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight can either be exhausting and impossible, or effortless and natural, and whatever your relationship with food up until now, it can be changed.
If you or anyone you know may be suffering from binge eating disorder, it is important to reach out and seek help. BED is a very real disorder, but with the correct treatment you can come to a place of healing and learn to have a healthy relationship with your body and food. There is hope, and you are not alone! Reach out, we are here to help and support YOU.