Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is unfortunately commonly misconceptualized in our society. People often think of people who binge as ‘lazy overeaters’ who do not actually have a problem. This comes with the assumption that people with BED possibly ‘eat for the joy of eating’. This is not the case and is a significant underestimate of the issues someone with BED is dealing with. The typical patient with BED may or may not look different than typical patients struggling with eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Patients with Binge Eating Disorder may actually have a thin appearance, where their physical representation would not automatically indicate they are struggling with BED. Here are some important facts to consider when understanding Binge Eating Disorder, or BED. It is important not to stereotype and to consider that it is not always obvious who may be suffering from this disorder.
– Just because someone is overweight does not mean he or she binges or overeats.
– Likewise, just because someone is underweight or of normal weight does not mean they don’t binge or overeat. In other words, you do not have to be overweight to be diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder.
– As with other eating disorders, people who binge or compulsively overeat, tend to eat very restricted diets during the day, leaving them vulnerable to binging at night.
– Most binge and compulsive eaters feel shame and anxiety when eating in front of others. Similar to anorexics, they feel that everyone is watching and evaluating their food intake.
– As with anorexia and bulimia, overcoming Binge Eating Disorder is not about learning more discipline or self-control. This is the most common misconception when treating this disorder. Instead, healing is about understanding how the person has come to use food (or lack of food) as a mechanism of emotional survival.
– Binge eaters are no more or less “out of control” than anorexics, bulimics or those struggling with other addictions. Individuals with BED are often associated with ‘extremist’ ideologies or with unattractive or ‘gross’ qualities.
– Binge and compulsive eaters- overweight or not- are not lazy. In fact, like with anorexia, binge and compulsive eaters tend to be perfectionists and work non-stop. This is normally the trigger, which makes them more susceptible to binging and overeating. The management of binge eating (or any eating disorder) can be extremely hard work.
– Binge and compulsive eaters tend feel a great deal of shame about their behaviors and their bodies. Many state that they feel damaged and inferior. If you have judged or inflicted criticism upon someone like this, they have already thought the same, or worse.
– As with any eating disorder, criticism, lectures and “pep talks” focusing on what binge eaters should and should not do, do not motivate permanent change. Binge eaters know what they should and should not do. Long lasting results come from compassion and deeper insight into the function of the disorder. Commenting on their food and exercise choices does NOT help.
– Eating-disordered behaviors including binging or overeating cause the brain to release dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter) and opioids (the active ingredient in heroin, cocaine and other narcotics). This chemical release makes disordered eating literally addictive
Fore more information on Binge Eating Disorder (BED), or other eating disorders, http://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/eating-disorder-counselling-etobicoke/.
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