Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States and is associated with eating large amounts of food at a time and then experiencing feelings of shame, guilt, or distress afterwards. Healthline notes that binge eating disorder (BED) affects nearly 2.8 million people in the United States each year. Whether you have experience with BED or not, there are likely some facts that you do not know:
- It can occur at any point in life. Eating disorders do not discriminate – a person of any age, race, and income level may develop this. The National Eating Disorders Association notes that BED typically begins in late teens or early 20s, but it can begin much earlier or later than that as well.
- It’s more common than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia. Although it’s more common than these other conditions, it often goes undetected because of the severe shame associated with it. Many people don’t feel safe to speak up and reach out for help.
- It is less about a lack of control and more about coping mechanisms. While it may seem easy to think that a person should simply watch what they’re eating and how much, people with BED utilize food as a way to cope with their emotions. It’s the association with food that needs to be addressed by a therapist – receiving love and support is the best way for a person to feel comfortable enough to seek help for this.
- A person with BED may be overweight or not – and a person who is overweight may very well not have BED. There is no certain “image” of a person with BED. An “average” sized person could have BED, just as someone who is considered extremely thin could have it as well.
- This disorder is difficult to quit because it’s like an addiction. According to Psychology Today, a person with BED receives an influx of dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter, from eating excessively. Similar to other addictions, the body becomes used to this and the person can’t simply stop their patterns until they seek out help.
If you are struggling with binge eating disorder, seek help today. Cognitive behavioral therapy, along with other methods of treatment, are available to help you develop healthier coping mechanisms and get you back towards leading a happy, healthy life.
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