Binge Eating Disorders deserve to be recognized for their complexities and severity – yet many times are minimized and thought to be the “Lack of Will Power Disorder”. This label falls far short of accuracy but the truth is sometimes out of sight for those who struggle with this disorder. The inclusion of Binge Eating Disorders in the newly released DSM V has given more legitimacy to the struggles of those with this disorder.
Anorexia is often considered the “Glorified Eating Disorder”, unless of course, it is being evaluated by the victim with Anorexia. In that case, no matter how low the body weight has gotten, or how long the exercise routine is, it is not enough. Then there is Bulimia, frequently regarded the “Disgusting Eating Disorder”. People think, “How can someone throw up”, or even worse, “How can someone use laxatives and deal with the result of that”? ”Yuck” and “gross” are adjectives that quickly come to mind for many when they think about these specific compensatory behaviors. The hierarchy of eating disorders continues with Binge Eating Disorders falling into third place; the “don’t matter so much space”. However they do matter so much; they result in millions of individuals living compromised and miserable lives.
So, you may ask, “What is a Binge Eating Disorder and how is it different than Bulimia”? There are a number of differences and at the same time there are similarities. A primary difference is the absence of the compensatory behaviors that help offset increased weight that comes as result of binge eating. These behaviors include induced vomiting, laxative abuse, over-exercising, use of diuretics, and diet pills. A commonality is the presence of binge eating that is accompanied by a feeling of being out of control, often unable to remember what occurred during the binge episode, and then feeling remorseful and guilty afterwards. Other similarities include the “misery/issue” variable. Those who experience a Binge Eating Disorder struggle with issues that cause significant distress. These can include but certainly are not limited to: anxiety, depression, past trauma, low self esteem, and acceptance/approval issues.
These are issues that may be experienced by many people and in and of themselves may not seem to answer the question of why someone develops an eating disorder. There obviously are millions of people who are experiencing depression, anxiety, and who do not like themselves, yet, they do not have an eating disorder. The predisposition to developing an eating disorder is present for some and not for others. Unfortunately, we do not know enough about what leads to the development of eating disorders to prevent them – researchers and clinicians are working together towards this cause. However, today we are much more aware of the contributors of eating disorders than in the past. We also have a much clearer picture of the most effective approaches that help treat Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorders.
It has long been shown that therapy combined with the use of appropriate medication[s] contributes to a more favorable outcome for many diagnoses. That holds true for eating disorders as well. It is common for many individuals who have Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorders to have a difficult time knowing when they are full and often do not recognize true hunger. Sometimes these states may have been ongoing since childhood and for others the onset may have occurred at a later time in their live. Reestablishing these states is possible and Recovery from a Binge Eating Disorder is possible as well. Unfortunately, the process is usually long and difficult but thankfully can be accomplished. Effective treatment is necessary for most people who struggle with eating disorders, including a Binge Eating Disorder; this often includes the use of medications to help facilitate the production of neurotransmitters that help regulate mood and satiety.
We encourage all people who are struggling with or know someone with an eating disorder, whether it is Anorexia, Bulimia, or a Binge Eating Disorder, to remember that no one is to blame for an eating disorder and that no one ever started out to be in such an awful place.
Lynda A. Brogdon, Ph.D., C.E.D.S., C.E.A.P.
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Canopy Cove’s Eating Disorder Treatment Programs offer compassionate, comprehensive treatment for females, males, adolescents, and adults, who are struggling with Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorders and Co-Existing Diabetes, Depression, and Anxiety. Equine-Assisted Therapy is an weekly part of the Recovery process at Canopy Cove.