Binge Eating Disorder: 11 Facts

binge eatingIn a country known for diversity and freedom, the pressure put on men and women to have slim, fit bodies or face the harsh criticism of others is perplexing.[1] The shame of body size often silences the truth about obesity and binge eating disorder, in general.1 In turn, this creates misinformation and erroneous assumptions.1

Putting the myths to rest, here are the facts:

  1. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is an eating disorder.1 While patients with BED may look quite different than patients who struggle with anorexia or bulimia, the patterns and internal demons that create the disorder are similar to those of the better-understood conditions.1
  2. Being overweight does not always mean that someone binges or overeats.1
  3. Also, being underweight or of normal weight does not mean that someone does not binge or overeat.1
  4. As with other eating disorders, those who binge eat tend to restrict their food intake during the day, making them more vulnerable to binging at night.1
  5. Most people who binge eat feel guilt, shame, and anxiety when they eat in front of other people.1 They feel as those everyone is watching them and judging their food intake.1
  6. As with anorexia and bulimia, overcoming BED is not about learning discipline or self-control.1 Instead, it is about understanding how the person has come to use food, or lack thereof, as a mechanism for emotional survival.1
  7. Individuals who binge eat are no more or less “out-of-control” than those with anorexia or bulimia.1
  8. Binge eaters are not lazy.1 In fact, they tend to be perfectionists and work out constantly, which makes them more susceptible to bingeing and overeating.1
  9. Binge eaters tend to feel an immense amount of shame about their bodies and behavior.1 Many report that they feel damaged and inferior.1
  10. Lectures, criticism, and lists of what to do and what not to do don’t motivate binge eaters to make permanent change.1 They already know what they should and should not be doing.1 Instead, results come from compassion and deeper insight into the function of the disorder.1
  11. Eating-disordered behaviors cause the brain to release dopamine, which makes disordered eating officially addictive.1

Clinicians and researchers are constantly learning more about the causes and treatment of binge eating disorder.1 The continual emergence of useful information is constantly fighting to overpower the misconceptions.1 Education is the only way to clear up the negative and popular misconceptions regarding the disorder.1 We need to move towards greater understanding and compassion.1

[1] Kromberg, J. (2013, November 18). 11 Surprising Facts About Binge Eating Disorder. Psychology Today. Retrieved December 13, 2013, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-out/201311/11-surprising-facts-about-binge-eating-disorder

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