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Breaking Down the Stigma Surrounding Eating Disorders: Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Breaking Down the Stigma Surrounding Eating Disorders: Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) Week at the end of February, Thrive is focusing on raising awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding eating disorders. This week, we are highlighting binge eating disorder (BED), the most common type of eating disorder in the United States. Eight percent of all American adults will suffer from BED during their lifetime, and half the risk of BED is strictly genetic. The driving causes of eating disorders — societal pressures and genetic factors — make it possible for anyone, unfortunately, to suffer from an eating disorder.

Understand the most common eating disorder in the United States, binge eating disorder 

BED is characterized by recurring episodes of eating large quantities of food. During the binge, individuals suffer a feeling of losing control. They do not use purging mechanisms (seen in bulimia nervosa) to counteract the binge eating. During an episode, the individual often consumes food quickly to a point of discomfort. Feelings of shame, guilt and distress can arise after an episode. Usually someone struggling with BED is uncomfortable eating around others, frequently diets, fluctuates weight, and creates food rituals to make time for binge sessions.

Digging into the psychological effects of binge eating disorder

BED is driven by psychological issues including, fear of rejection or failure, unmet expectations, or feeling “not good enough”. Those struggling with BED often have a low self-esteem and poor body image that drive them to have binging episodes as a way to cope with their feelings. BED leads individuals to social isolation because episodes usually occur in private due to shame. BED is likely to affect a person’s relationships, career, and social life because the eating disorder takes over, making it difficult to function in normal daily life.

Let’s play mythbusters

“Dieting will stop you from binge eating.” FALSE! People suffering from BED tend to diet frequently, trying every new FAD diet that comes their way. However, diets are very restrictive and “breaking” the diet, usually leads to a binge eating episode.

“They are just a picky eater, that’s why they don’t eat in front of us.” FALSE! Individuals with BED tend to fear eating in front of others because they do not want to lose control.

“Binge eating is the same as overeating” FALSE! Getting a second helping of a tasty meal or eating a few more cookies than expected is not binging. Binge eating involves complete loss of control while eating.

Thrive don’t just survive! 

Thrive understands the complex psychological and physical effects that come with an eating disorder. That is why we use a multidisciplinary approach that addresses every part of the client — mind, body, and soul. Let us help you on your path to recovery by healing your relationship with yourself, your body, and food. We offer various levels of care for eating disorders, including an intensive outpatient program, partial hospitalization program, outpatient therapy, and eating disorder recovery support group. Start thriving today!