Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
Definition: Binge eating disorder is a type of eating disorder that involves compulsive binge eating.
Binge eating disorder, sometimes referred to as compulsive overeating, is the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder. It involves binge eating, or eating large amounts in a sitting, and a feeling of loss of control over eating.
Anyone can be impacted by binge eating disorder. People from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, abilities, and more can and do struggle with this illness.
People with binge eating disorder will experience symptoms in different ways. This doesn’t make anyone’s journey anymore or less valid, it’s just important to remember that your own journey is unique to you.
- Eating to the point of discomfort
- Eating too fast to notice how it feels
- Eating large amounts of food even when you’re not hungry
- Social withdrawal
- Issues with body image
- Hiding away food to access it later
- Constantly thinking about food and specific food cravings
- Guilt, remorse, shame and/or self-esteem issues related to binge eating behaviours
People may experience some or all of the above symptoms. In some individuals, there may be additional symptoms including anxiety, depression, and others.
It’s important to note that having binge eating disorder, or any eating disorder, doesn’t have a ‘look’. Weight loss, gain, and changes in appearance are side effects and are not part of the disorder itself. If you’re struggling with disordered eating urges, habits or thoughts, you ARE sick enough and deserve proper care and support.
Eating disorder recovery entails working both on one’s physical and mental health and each journey will be unique to an individual. Treatments can include:
Some individuals may benefit from certain medications, such as antidepressants, to help with symptoms. In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary. This may involve behavioural weight-loss programs, or treatment for any co-occurring conditions.
It’s best to talk to your health team when looking at treatment options. They can recommend and guide you through what could be the best fit for you and your well-being.
I have a loved one experiencing binge eating disorder, how can I help?
If you have a loved one who is struggling, having an open conversation about how you can best support them can mean the world. For example, asking how you can best support them on their journey. You could offer to help with chores, send them a message to let them know you’re thinking of them, etc. Simply being a friend can often be the best thing to do. Maybe even working on a well-being plan with your loved one that may be useful to both of you.
Understanding this condition is also immensely helpful. It can help you and your loved one to better work with what they’re going through. Realizing that their eating disorder is an illness and not them can also be useful to both of you. It’s equally important to also remember to take time out for yourself for self-care.
It’s important for those struggling to know that you can fight and recover from binge eating disorder. You can find ways to heal from it. There is always hope and people who care about you who will support you on your journey.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that your life has value and you deserve help, care, and support. You can fight binge eating disorder and can heal from it and live a life free from it. We understand how difficult mental illnesses can be, but you are worthy, and you are strong. You can get through this. Reach out and keep fighting. You are not alone in your fight. We believe in you. And remember that there is ALWAYS hope.
Resources and Links:
- NZ Eating Disorders Clinic - Binge Eating Disorder
- Love Your Kite
- Cleveland Clinic - Binge Eating Disorder
- Bite Back
- The Mighty - Binge Eating Disorder
- ED.org - Getting Help
- Mayo Clinic - Binge Eating Disorder
- Binge Nutritionist on Instagram
- Eating Disorder Hope
- The Body Love Society
Voices of Hope does not offer direct mental health services and our team is not comprised of trained mental health professionals. If you require assistance, we recommend visiting our resources page for helpful information.
If you are in immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, or need advice for someone in your life that is at risk of immediate harm to themselves, please contact your local emergency services.