Binge eating disorder is something that is starting to be talked about more as the number of people that suffer from obesity continues to grow. But what is binge eating disorder? Binge eating, compulsive overeating, food addiction…Psychologists do make distinctions between all these disorders. But as I see it, the line is very fine. They are all dysfunctional forms of eating.
Binge eating disorder is described as a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States.
A food addiction is similar to drug addiction and alcoholism in the respect that it is a substance that someone is using to numb their feelings or hide behind. Many food addicts have suffered from alcoholism or drug addiction in the past. Medicating with food is another way of dealing with emotions without having to actually deal with them directly.
The worst part about trying to manage an eating disorder is you cannot abstain from eating the way you can alcohol and drugs. If you talk to a person that has struggled with alcohol and a food addiction, they will tell you that managing compulsive eating is much more difficult than abstaining from alcohol. Every time you put something in your mouth there is the potential that you could binge. But binge eating episodes are not usually the result of being hungry. Or at least there is no physical hunger; it is an emotional hunger that is trying to be satisfied with food.
Changing compulsive behaviors starts with understanding them and then trying to figure out what triggers them. Many people that suffer with dysfunctional eating issues also suffer from low self-esteem. They don’t feel they are deserving of health and happiness. Overcoming these feelings often takes time and some type of counselling or support group. Even though things will get easier, the tendencies to want to overeat will always be in the background.
Most people cannot overcome binge eating disorder without getting some kind of help. In recent years overeating as a disease has become more of a public issue. When this happens, it becomes easier to find options for getting help. Counseling is always an option as well as support groups. One of the easiest ways to get help is through an online support group.
Online support groups are great for getting information. Sign up and start reading. If you suffer from compulsive overeating, you will find that you are not alone and there are people that are willing to offer support to and others. Not only does it help others, it help them as well. Binge eating support group can help peel back the layers and help you figure out what causes you to eat when you are not hungry. There is a way out of the binge eating cycle, but it will not come without hard work and dedication.