She stuffs her face until she can’t breathe anymore. The food is barely chewed, more so swallowed in large amounts and in quick motions to try to finish it before someone sees her eating. She hates when people watch her eat. She feels like they’re staring at her and judging her. The more she eats, the more she craves. The more she craves, the more self-conscious she gets. The more self-conscious she gets, the harder it is for her to accept herself the way she is.
“Binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States.” (National Eating Disorders Association, 2017)
Binge-eating. It’s an eating disorder that I have struggled with over the past year now. I was in remission from an episode of binge-eating a few years ago, but I have unfortunately relapsed into my old ways of self-destruction. This is a very sensitive topic for me to write about. It hurts me to the core of my being to share this, but I feel as though many other people who struggle or have struggled with an eating disorder would be able to relate.
I hate my body. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to change it to look as perfect as a model’s. That’s my Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in one of its many forms presenting itself inside my mind. But because of this total self-image distortion, I have continuously had a rough time with food. It is my greatest and most difficult vice to get rid of. No matter how much I try, I am not able to get rid of it forever. It keeps coming back, sneaking up on me when I least expect it; especially when I am triggered and find myself crippled by my emotions in an episode.
I cannot tell you how much this hurts me to say, but I have no self-control when it comes to food. I’m cringing at the fact that I just wrote that. This is what I hide behind my smile and my laugh every day. This is what hurts me deeply; slices right through my core and binds me to self-hatred. This eating disorder paired with my BPD has made my life almost unbearable.
I want to get better. I want to be Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) free. I want to be able to not have to worry about what people think of me as I eat in public. I want to be able to choose the right portion of food for my stomach so that I don’t over-indulge in foods that I should not regularly be eating. I want to have a healthy relationship with food.
Some of you may be thinking, ‘All this talk but no action.’ I know. I’m trying my best. Getting rid of an eating disorder is harder than it looks. You can’t just stop; sometimes you don’t even realize you’re in an episode and do it; it’s a mental reaction to pain; it takes years to overcome; many people have it.
IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY.
To my fellow sufferers, we will get there. We will overcome our eating disorders. We may relapse, but as long as we get back on track, we will be okay. Do not be afraid, I accept you and love you for who you are, flaws and all. I am here suffering with you, and I will not let you down.
Below are some statistics are taken from the National Eating Disorders Association website that gives a vivid description of how severe Binge-Eating Disorder can affect people:
- “A 2007 study asked 9,282 English-speaking Americans about a variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders. The results, published in Biological Psychiatry, found that 3.5% of women and 2.0% of men had binge eating disorder during their life. This makes BED more than three times more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. BED is also more common than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia.
- When researchers followed a group of 496 adolescent girls for 8 years until they were 20, they found: 5.2% of the girls met criteria for DSM5 anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. When the researchers included nonspecific eating disorder symptoms, a total of 13.2% of the girls had suffered from a DSM-5 eating disorder by age 20.
- Combining information from several sources, Eric Stice and Cara Bohon found that
Between 0.2% and 3.5% of females and 0.9% and 2.0% of males will develop binge eating disorder. Subthreshold binge eating disorder occurs in 1.6% of adolescent girls.
- Research estimates that 28.4% of people with current BED are receiving treatment for their disease. 43.6% of individuals with BED at some point in their lives will receive treatment.
- BED often begins in the late teens or early 20s, although it has been reported in both young children and older adults.
- Approximately 40% of those with binge eating disorder are male.
- Three out of ten individuals looking for weight loss treatments show signs of BED.”
“BED is one of the newest eating disorders formally recognized in the DSM5. Before the most recent revision in 2013, BED was listed as a subtype of EDNOS (now referred to as OSFED). The change is necessary because some insurance companies will not cover eating disorder treatment without a DSM diagnosis. The formal diagnostic criteria are:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
-Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
-A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
- The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
-Eating much more rapidly than normal.
-Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
-Eating significant amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
-Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
-Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
- Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
- The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.
- The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.” (National Eating Disorders Association, 2017)
Source: National Eating Disorders Association. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/binge-eating-disorder.