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Binge Eating: The Lesser Known Disorder

Did you know that binge eating has now become America's most common eating disorder, affecting one in 35 women, making it three times as common as anorexia nervosa? I honestly didn't know until I was watching CNN and saw the story of a young lady who suffered with binge eating.

Binge eating is a relatively unknown disorder since most people think that eating disorders are about not eating, rather than overeating. The reason it has been so unknown is because there seems to be a greater stigma attached to binge eating than to anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, so people are less likely to admit to the problem. Natalie, the woman featured on CNN, revealed that her binges would include: a sleeve of Ritz crackers with peanut butter, Triscuits, some cheese from the refrigerator, maybe some cream cheese straight out of the carton, maybe some mayonnaise right out of the jar. Natalie, like others with this disorder, experience a food high and addiction like you would from a drug. Binge eaters keep their eating a secret and some avoid weight gain by exercising excessively.

Why is it bad: The major complications of binge eating disorder are the diseases that could accompany obesity (Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, gallbladder disease, heart disease and certain types of cancer). Furthermore, people with binge eating disorder can be extremely distressed by their binge eating. Some people miss work, school, or social activities to binge eat. Obese people with binge eating disorder often feel bad about themselves, are preoccupied with their appearance, which can lead to avoiding social gatherings. Like most eating disorders, binge eaters try to hide their problem so that close family members and friends don't know what they are doing behind closed doors.

Binge eating is more than pigging out on pizza on a Friday night, a binge has two main components. One is eating an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time and the other is having a sense of loss of control of the eating. Worried that you or someone you know may be a binge eater? Take the quiz on Overeaters Anonymous.

Join The Conversation
veronicaraye veronicaraye 9 years
this is very true!!!
suzanne suzanne 10 years
Hey wackdoodle :HUG: I took the quiz... I had to ans 'Yes" to trying a diet for a week or longer and failing, but I don't consider this so shocking. If you put a whole jar of nuts in front of me, I might go over the edge with that... for the most part - I feel in control... I guess there's a bit of binging in most of us. :?
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Wow - I'm so glad that you've gotten help. And I had no idea it could be hereditary.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 10 years
I just stumbled across this...I'm a recovering binge eater. I know the exact day and time I started binge eating (it was when my mother died and the coroner removed her body from the house). And after year of grief counseling I finally got the binge eating under control. Strange thing is I found out several years until the disorder that my dad was a binge eater too! It was shocking. He didn;'t know I was I didn't know he was and we both found out while raiding a grocery store late at night for rations. Now other family members show signs of the disorder too and all I can do is be supportive and pass along my literature from my therapist on how to beat the disorder.
krisua krisua 10 years
It's like watching myself in the mirror.
rkdub rkdub 10 years
hey I just wanted to say how awesome you guys are! Both Dear and Fit have provided great, non-judgemental, positive advice for an issue that is difficult to discuss. I am fascinated by eating disorders and while this article is extremely interesting to me, it is also sooooo beneficial to call attention to something that is so underreported, but yet afflicts so many. Good luck to those of you that suffer from this and other eating disorders, I wish you the best... :) Thanks guys! Keep up the GREAT work!
DearSugar DearSugar 10 years
hello cravinsugar: i just want to encourage you to consider looking into the resources fit has provided. you posted here, which i think means you are brave enough, self-loving enough, and strong enough to take the next step of letting someone help you. we all absolutely deserve to be helped. good luck to you.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
The info you posted didn't make me feel any worse than i already do, sorry if it seemed that way. it is nice knowing, like i said, that it isn't just me being weak. anyways. i think it is great you posted it as it will be a help to many people, me included. _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
suzanne suzanne 10 years
I always joke that I build at least 1 1/2 ounces of chocolate into every day, or I'll go nuts, but the truth is that if I don't have it on a regular basis, then I'll start to crave it and eat just about everything else in the house... until I get chocolate. That can kick off a true binge for me, so I've learned to avoid that guilt trip :CRY: and just go ahead and allow myself the daily chocolate - no matter what my weight or size that day. You gotta do what you gotta do! :)
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Just so you guys know: Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact if you feel you have an eating disorder and choose to seek help, it is a commendable decision. Keep in mind that everyone needs a little help from someone else sometimes, that is just how life is and there IS NOTHING wrong with that. This information was not meant to make those who have (or think they have) eating disorders feel bad but rather to give them an outlet as well as a resource for information, further understanding of binge eating, support, help, etc.
chibarosa chibarosa 10 years
Binge eating is a serious problem that will probably never get the exposure it deserves. There are serious underlying emotional issues at the root of it and unless a person suffers from it or has a close relative or friend that suffers from it, they'll never understand it. It's more than just a lack of willpower. Thanks for drawing attention to this.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Hey Fit, I think I know why I have such a problem...I have this disorder and could answer yes to all but i would say 5 of those questions. Biggest thing of all i do is that i fell terrible and guilty, and then avoid social gatherings further alienating myself from friends and coworkers which then makes me feel worse. Thing is, saying that i am a binge eater is terribly embarassing, and even thinking of going to OA moritifies me. Although i don't do anything as crazy as eating mayonnaise out of the jar, this explains why i have such a hard time sticking to my diets as it is an addcition and i didn't know that. :-( I am glad i read this, but now it feels more terrible since it is a disorder and isn't only me being weak like i thought...which means i may not be able to fix it on my own... _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
Thanks for posting this, Fit.
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