If You Suffer From it, You Are Not Alone
What it is
There are several subtypes of binge eating, as explained by Nolen-Hoeksema (2014), including the dieting subtype and the depressive subtype. The dieting subtype exists of individuals who have a negative body image, partake in extreme dieting and often, as a result, binge eat; which then translates into them purging their bodies of the food. The depressive subtype also suffers from a negative body image but binge eat as a result of his or her feelings of stress, depression, or low self esteem.
A clear description for BED, as written by an individual who both suffered and recovered from the disorder, is listed here http://bingebehavior.com/bed/what-does-bed-look-like
Who has it, and why
So what causes binge eating? According to Nolen-Hoeksema (2014), it can be a combination of several factors, which we will further explore. First, there are possible biological factors. Nolen-Hoeksema (2014) states that BED is hereditary, with 41% of participants of a twin study having the disorder. The problem may stem from a possible dysfunction in the hypothalamus' regulation of detecting hunger and fullness, a possible chemical imbalance in the brain, and possible addictive tendencies in a person's genetic makeup (Help Guide, n.d.). There is also the possibility of emotion regulation difficulty, which can contribute to an individual developing BED, as noted by Nolen-Hoeksema (2014). This is defined as eating large amounts of food as a way of dealing with painful emotions. As with all eating disorders, the problem can be compounded by a dysfunctional childhood, such as experiencing sexual abuse (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). For more information on reasons why certain individuals develop BED, please visit the following site: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder.htm
What you can do, and where to find help
Help for binge eating can start immediately with your own awareness about this disorder! The more you know, the better equipped you are to take action! "If someone is concerned he or she may be struggling with binge eating disorder, it is important to consult with a physician and seek an assessment from a qualified eating disorders specialist at a local eating disorders treatment center" ( (Tartakovsky, 2009). If you want to seek help from a therapist, please make sure they have a current license and if possible, experience with the disorder. According to Help Guide (n.d.), the types of therapy that would be effective to treat BED is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This site also suggests asking family and friends for support, joinging a support group, or trying group therapy. It is beneficial to know that others struggle with the same disorder, and to have someone to help you overcome it. More information on the disorder, as well as more details on where and how to get help can be found by following the link to Binge Eating Disorder Association http://bedaonline.com/ or by visiting this site http://www.helpguide.org/articles/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder.htm
Binge eating is a misunderstood disorder
Most people can relate to the feeling of being misunderstood at times, or of being judged by others. This can be compounded for sufferers of eating disorders, such as BED. First, education on the topic for the individual is the best place to start in overcoming the myths; for once the person understands what the problem is and why they suffer from it, they can make more informed decisions in how and where to find help. Second, the more people who are made aware of this disorder, the more individuals there will be who will be able to support those who suffer from it in the way they need.
For more information on myths of BED and tips to overcome it, please visit this website at http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/category/binge-eating/
Anonymous, (n.d.). Binge eating disorder, symptoms, causes, treatment, and help. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder.htm
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal Psychology (6th ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education
Schreiber-Gregory, D., Lavendar, J., Engel, S., Wonderlich, S., Crosby, R., Peterson, C., Simonich, H., Crow, S., Durkin, N., & Mitchell, J. (2013). Examining duration of binge eating episodes in binge eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46:810-814. Retrieved from http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1002%2Feat.22164?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1
Tartakovsky, M., (2009). Myths about binge eating and the challenges of recovery. Retrieved from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2011/06/myths-about-binge-eating-the-challenges-of-recovery/