Understanding Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is different from other eating disorders. It involves recurrent binge eating without the use of other behaviors such as purging, excessive exercise, or laxative use. It is important to understand that binge eating is different from simply overeating.

Binge eating episodes occur more frequently and typically have a significant impact on a person’s relationships, career, and life in general.

People who struggle with BED typically experience a lack of control with their relationship with food, which is very different from the experience of those with anorexia or bulimia. People with BED experience a lot of shame and guilt after engaging in binge eating. They are troubled by their constant thoughts around their weight, bodies, and lack of control with food.

Because of the embarrassment or shame they experience with food, they may often try to hide their behavior or lie about it. Also, people with BED might wait years before sharing about their experience with others.

Like other mental health issues, BED does not always look the same for everyone who experiences it. Some people with BED may try to diet or restrict food after binging in order to compensate, but this is not always the case. Also, people with eating disorders do not always fall into just one category. It is common for people with eating disorders to engage in multiple types of abnormal eating behaviors. While it can take time, BED is treatable with professional help.

Elizabeth Kraich, LAPC

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