Binge Eating Can Be Controlled By Willpower
Fact: It may seem like a simple matter of willpower, but the reality of binge eating is far different and more complex.
Binge eating is similar to an addictive process in terms of the compulsivity that takes over during a binge episode. Suggesting that someone with binge eating disorder just use willpower is similar to saying it to a person who is substance-dependent. If it were as simple as using willpower, no one would have any sort of compulsive, damaging behaviors, whether it be binging on food or misusing drugs or alcohol.
In these types of disorders, a process occurs in dopamine receptors in the brain and this turns the binge process into a compelling and compulsive behavior that is difficult to reign in. In short, this process hijacks the brain and turns binge eating into an addiction for those who experience this disorder. Using willpower with binge eating seems like a logical suggestion, but when one considers the underlying factors, it is a far too simplistic suggestion and implies a judgment that the person with the condition is somehow weak or lazy.
Binge eating disorder treatment can include different types of psychotherapy, medications or a combination of both. Professional help for binge eating disorder is available and can be a key part of recovery.
Bed Research: What Do We Know
Since Binge Eating Disorder was first mentioned in the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1987, research on BED has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. In fact, in 2013, BED was added to the latest, fifth edition, of the DSM as its own diagnosis.
Is Binge Eating Disorder The Same As Overeating
Binge eating disorder is not exactly the same as overeating. Most people overeat on occasion and dont experience any major adverse effects. So which characteristics define binge eating disorder as an eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating during which a person feels a loss of control over their eating. Binge eating episodes are often driven by a need to soothe negative emotions. According to the DSM-5, to be diagnosed with binge eating disorder, three or more of the following criteria must be met:
Unlike bulimia, binge eating episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, fasting or other compensatory behaviors. Binge eating disorder occurs more frequently in those living in larger bodies, but people of all body sizes can be diagnosed with binge eating disorder. Guilt, shame and/or distress about their eating behavior is common which can lead to more binge eating. So, even though the common misconceptions and comments involve overeating from time to time, occasional binges are not likely an eating disorder.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Rarest Phobia
How Is Binge Eating Disorder Different From Bulimia Nervosa
People who have bulimia nervosa routinely try to prevent weight gain after binge eating by vomiting, using laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or exercising excessively. People with binge eating disorder may occasionally try these strategies to avoid weight gain, but it is not a regular part of their binge-eating behavior.
Myth: People Who Binge Just Need More Willpower
Truth: Although bingeing may seem to be self-indulgentor even seen as gluttonousits quite the opposite. Surprisingly, BED is as much grounded in restriction as are anorexia and bulimia. Most people with BED try to atone for their binges by dieting or at least trying to counterbalance with healthy eating. However, this typically means undereating, which helps drive ongoing binges from a physiological perspective. Restriction can also be psychological. When we deny ourselves certain foods because they are seen as unhealthy or forbidden, those very foods become the ones we crave.
Recommended Reading: What Is A Phobia Of Spoons Called
What Is The Best Way To Treat Binge Eating Disorder
It is important to seek treatment for binge eating disorder if you suspect that you or someone in your life may be struggling. Because binge eating disorder has effects on both mental and physical health, it isnt enough to get treated for the physical symptoms only. It doesnt address the root of the problem, so it wont truly make it go away.
The best way to treat binge eating disorder is by working with a multidisciplinary team of specialists to address the whole person. These are serious illnesses, but with the right treatment and support, people can and do recover. The Emily Program has provided specialty treatment for eating disorders for over 25 years. Reach out to us today 1-888-364-5977 or start the process online.
Psychological Symptoms Of Binge Eating Disorder
Psychological signs and symptoms can include:
- preoccupation or obsession with eating, food or body image
- sensitivity to comments about food, dieting, exercise or body image
- feelings of shame, guilt and self-loathing, especially after a binge eating episode
- feelings of extreme distress, sadness and anxiety, especially after a binge eating episode
- a distorted body image or extreme dissatisfaction with body shape
- low self-esteem, depression, anxiety or irritability.
Read Also: Mayo Clinic Anxiety And Depression
Interview With Carolyn Costin
Interview with Carolyn Costin: I had been recovered from anorexia nervosa for a while and my friends knew this so when a young girl with anorexia needed help people sought me out. When I saw this person it was like I knew the inside of her mind. She felt understood and she got better. Then I got another referral and she got better too. Soon people all around my town and the surrounding cities started referring to me. It was only then, that I knew I had to do this work.
Clean Out The Kitchen
Having lots of or trigger foods in the kitchen can make it much easier to binge eat.
Conversely, keeping healthy foods on hand can reduce your risk of emotional eating by limiting the number of unhealthy options.
Start by clearing out processed snack foods like chips, candies, and pre-packaged convenience foods and swapping them for healthier alternatives.
Stocking your kitchen with fruits, vegetables, protein-rich foods, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can improve your diet and reduce your risk of binge eating unhealthy foods.
Summary Removing unhealthy foods from your kitchen and stocking up on healthy alternatives can improve diet quality and make it harder to binge eat.
Read Also: What Is A Depression On A Topographic Map
Myth: Binge Eating Disorder Only Affects Higher
Truth: One of the biggest myths is that body size determines an eating disorder diagnosis. Nothing could be further from the truth. An accurate diagnosis of any eating disorder relies on an individuals thoughts, feelings and behaviors around food, and also includes feeling distressed about body size.* For example, although the DSM-5 criteria for anorexia nervosa includes significantly low body weight, people of any size can have all the other symptoms of anorexia and need treatment for it. Similarly, binge eating disorder has no size the behaviors and level of distress inform the diagnosis.
Eating Disorders And Depression
Many people with eating disorders also appear to have depression. It is believed that there may be a link between these 2 disorders. For example:
Research has shown that some people with binge eating disorder may respond well to antidepressant medicine that affects serotonin function in the body.
Biochemical similarities have been discovered between people with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder , and people with OCD often have abnormal eating behaviors.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Phobia Of Throwing Up
A Look At Binge Eating Disorder: What It Is And How To Treat
Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in adults. The lifetime prevalence of BED has been estimated to be 2.0% for men and 3.5% for women, higher than that of the commonly recognized eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Of note, BED is found in all cultures and ethnicities and spans from childhood to old age.
Trust Me Binge Eating Disorder Is A Real Illness
Say it with me now, kids: binge eating disorder is a real illness. I’ve lived through years of dieting, shame, guilt, feeling out of control, trying everything I could think of to maintain my weight and feel stable, and nothing worked. If this problem was so easily rectified, then why couldn’t I do it? As for self control and willpower, I went on starvation diets. Don’t insinuate that I don’t have either of those qualities.
In the end, I’m not lying. I’m not making this up. I’m not embellishing my experiences with illness and binge eating disorder. I’m not playing for sympathy or trying to excuse my actions. I have a problem. It’s called binge eating disorder and it’s a real illness.
Also Check: Is Tequila A Depressant Or Stimulant
Bed & Bariatric Surgery Or The Sleeve
Countless individuals struggle with Binge Eating Disorder throughout our nation though many suffer in silence due to the fears and stigmas that surround this painful disorder. A common physical effect that can result from BED is obesity, which can result from consuming a greater amount of food than is needed over time.
Binge Eating Disorder And Loved Ones
If someone you love is struggling with Binge Eating Disorder, it can be a scary and difficult time for everyone involved. If your loved one is displaying any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, seek help immediately. Early detection and intervention may increase the likelihood of recovery. It is also important that you, the family and friends of someone experiencing an eating disorder, get help and support for yourselves. Please consider attending family therapy and/or a family and friends support group. The Alliance is here to support you, too. Visit our page for loved ones to find out more about helping a loved one through an eating disorder, or sign up for our virtual friends and family support group here.
You May Like: What Are The Three Stages Of Schizophrenia
Medical Nutrition Therapy For Bed
Professional treatment for binge eating disorder will involve the collaboration of multiple professionals, including a therapist/counselor, medical doctor, psychiatrist, and registered dietitian. Each of these professionals works in their area of specialty to help address a concern that a person with binge eating disorder is facing.
Breaking 5 Myths Of Binge Eating
Binge Eating Disorder is the most common of all the eating disorders but incongruently, with the least treatment options for the sufferers. Until recently, BED was not even recognized as an actual disorder and could not be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by The American Psychiatric Association.
You May Like: Does Donald Duck Have Ptsd
Myth: Binge Eating Disorder Is Rare
Fact: Binge eating disorder is more common than anorexia, bulimia, HIV and breast cancer.
Binge eating disorder statistics show that it is the most common eating disorder,with a prevalence of more than three times the rates of anorexia and bulimia combined. Binge eating disorder is likely to be even more common than we realize, considering that many people with the condition remain untreated and do not tell others about it due to shame or embarrassment about the disorder.
Binge eating disorder was differentiated from other types of eating disorders in 2013 when the fifth edition of the DSM was published. A distinction was made between binge eating and bulimia as a result of the recognition that not everyone who binges engages in behaviors to rid themselves of the food consumed . In fact, it has been discovered that it is far more common for people to have binge eating disorder without purging. This was an important distinction for the increased awareness of both disorders and legitimized the two conditions as distinct and separate.
Binge Eating In Childhood
As a child, my doctors just thought I was a growing girl or that Id level out after puberty. But my weight was off the charts.
It makes sense that my mother a psychiatric nurse would find wrappers from binges under my bed and would only know to ask me, Are you purging?
But I wasnt. While I put on a good effort to start weight loss programs, even as an adolescent, I always ended up in the same place in a shameful, self-loathing spot where nothing changed and the only way I thought I could feel better was to get back to binging. Then, of course, I felt worse.
This continued for decades because, remember, binge eating disorder wasnt even a thing back then.
As all of this took place, I just felt like something was wrong with me.
Also Check: What Does The Suffix Phobia Mean
Causes Of Binge Eating
The exact causes of binge eating disorder are not known, but you are more likely to have an eating disorder if:
- you or a member of your family has a history of eating disorders, depression, or alcohol or drug misuse
- you’ve been criticised for your eating habits, body shape or weight
- you’re too worried about being slim, particularly if you also feel pressure from society or your job, for example, ballet dancers, models or athletes
- you have anxiety, low self-esteem, an obsessive personality or are a perfectionist
- you’ve been sexually abused
Binge Eating Disorder: How College Can Make It Worse
With anorexia having the highest mortality rate among any other psychiatric illness, the focus and attention given towards prevention and treatment is absolutely essential. However, sometimes overshadowed is the equally devastating Binge Eating Disorder, also classified as a major eating disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in May of 2013. Learn more about the devastating effects of BED while at college here.
Also Check: Is Tequila A Stimulant Or Depressant
Why Is Binge Eating Disorder Harmful
Binge eating disorder can contribute to many psychological and physical problems through a persons life. Complications of binge eating disorder may include difficulty functioning at work, social isolation, dermatological effects , gastrointestinal effects , and medical conditions related to being in higher-weight bodies, such as heart disorder, joint issues, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease .
What Are Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a persons eating behaviors. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may be signs of an eating disorder. These disorders can affect a persons physical and mental health in some cases, they can be life-threatening. But eating disorders can be treated. Learning more about them can help you spot the warning signs and seek treatment early.
Remember: Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice. They are biologically-influenced medical illnesses.
Recommended Reading: Faratrophobia
Myth: Binge Eating Is The Same As Overeating
Fact: Binge eating and overeating are not the same.
Most people will occasionally overindulge in their favorite foods and suffer the consequences of feeling uncomfortable until the meal has digested. People who struggle with binge eating disorder also overeat, but it is as a result of a compulsivity rather than an occasional choice to overindulge.
When looking at binge eating vs overeating, another difference is in the amount of food that is likely consumed during the span of time in which the overindulgence takes place. The amounts of food that someone who binge eats is far beyond what one would consume in a typical period of overeating binging is driven by compulsion and loss of control, which results in the mass consumption of food.
The length of time that the overeating takes place is also likely to be a longer duration in bine eaters than someone who simply overeats at a particular meal. Binge eating episodes can last up to two hours.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eaters usually are unhappy about their weight and many feel depressed.
Someone who’s binge eating also might:
- eat a lot of food quickly
- hide food containers or wrappers in their room
- have big changes in their weight
- skip meals, eat at unusual times , and eat alone
- have a history of eating in response to emotional stress
People who binge might have feelings that are common in many eating disorders, such as depression, anxiety, guilt, or shame. They may avoid school, work, or socializing with friends because they’re ashamed of their binge eating problem or changes in their body shape and weight.
When kids or teen binge eat, parents may first suspect a problem when large amounts of food go missing from the pantry or refrigerator.
Binge eating is different from bulimia, another eating disorder. People with bulimia binge eat, but try to make up for overeating by throwing up, using laxatives, or over-exercising to lose weight.
Binge Eating Disorder Is Real But Recovery Is Possible
I want to spread the message that Binge Eating Disorder is real, but recovery is possible!
Its difficult to pinpoint exactly when I first experienced symptoms. It feels like Id been living with binge eating disorder as long as I could remember. Over the years I approached several GPs asking them to help me understand and overcome these issues, but was made to feel like I was wasting their time. When I was in the grip of BED, my weight was very high not what most people picture when they think eating disorder. While seeking help, I met with a lot of unhelpful judgements about my weight and was dismissed as being lazy and weak-willed.
The thing about BED is its not as recognisable or well known as an eating disorder as anorexia or bulimia. I never considered that what I was battling was actually an eating disorder, although I did realise that other people around me didnt seem to have the same problems as me.
Eating disorders completely take over. I neglected relationships and was difficult to live with. When I was bingeing, I was very depressed I felt like I wasnt worth the love and care of my friends and family so I hid myself away, made excuses to get out of social events and was very moody and irritable. BED really brought out the worst in me.
Contributed by Nichola