In the U.S., it’s estimated that eight million people or more have an eating disorder. The most common, binge eating disorder, affects both men and and women. Binge eating disorder, or BED, is compulsive eating. People with binge eating disorder consume large amounts of food while feeling like they cannot stop themselves, or they have no control over their eating.
Unlike other eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia, people with binge eating disorder do not throw up after eating, exercise excessively or starve themselves to make up for any excess calories consumed during their binge episodes. They may be overweight, but being overweight does not always mean that you have BED.
People suffering from binge eating disorder are often embarrassed by their eating habits and lack of control. This shame may cause them to further hide their symptoms, which include eating even when you’re full or not hungry, eating until uncomfortably full, feeling that your eating habits are out of control and more.
These negative feelings often lead individuals to continuously using food as a coping device to make themselves feel better. The cycle this creates is cruel, and is often coupled with anxiety or depression. It leaves the person feeling trapped in their own eating habits.
If you think a loved one may have binge eating disorder, be supportive when you talk to them about it for the first time. Choose the right time, and be careful not to judge or criticize them. Be prepared for them to be defensive or in denial, especially if they’ve been making an effort to hide their struggle. Be patient and explain why you’re worried about them.
Encourage your loved one to see a medical professional, even if it’s only for a physical. A doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis, and screen for other health problems. This is especially important, because the longer an eating disorder goes untreated, the greater the impact it has on the body. Your doctor can provide you with information about nutritionists, counseling and residential treatment.
While binge eating disorder is the most common disorder in the U.S., it’s also the most under diagnosed simply because people are ashamed or unsure of how to talk to their doctor or family about it. Listen to your loved one with respect and understanding, and express your desire to help them through.
Lakehouse Recovery Center offers dual diagnosis treatment for eating disorders and substance use disorder from the comfort of a private lakefront home. For information, call us today: 877.762.3707