Binge eating disorder (BED) is an 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. Binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder. Common aspects of BED include functional impairment, suicide risk and a high frequency of co-occurring psychiatric disorders.
Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting 3.5% of women, 2% of men,1 and up to 1.6% of adolescents.
Having BED means living in a constant state of anxiety and yearning for something that is seemingly forever elusive. Imagine having a stomach ache that never goes away. You get up daily and hope that today will be the day that your stomach feels normal again.
You are determined that you are going to find the cause, but each time you go to the doctor, she tells you that it is your fault you have this pain and that you just need to follow the very specific but easy directions she will provide to you. You go home and are determined to implement the doctor’s recommendations perfectly.
After some time, you realize that you are following the doctor’s orders to a “T,” but nothing has changed. Your stomach continues to hurt and you find you are more distressed than ever because you know that everyone around you is assuming that you are not following the recommendations. You are confident that you are the only one who is suffering like this and there is a major defect in your character that is propelling the stomach problems and your ability to control them.
You decide that you are going to isolate and keep everyone away because you do not deserve friends or love. You and your stomach pain are together forever — it’s all you have.