If you’ve read one of my previous posts, The Rise of Eating Disorders in Modern-Day Society, you may have recalled a number of different eating disorders mentioned. Often times, when people hear the phrase “eating disorder,” their first thought is generally of thinness. Sure, many eating disorders, most commonly anorexia nervosa and bulimia, can lead to increased weight loss and health issues, but not all eating disorders are black and white or solely apparent based off of skinny appearance.
The citizens of the United States of America have maintained increasingly larger waist sizes in recent decades. Sugar intake has skyrocketed, chemicals and preservatives have widely increased, and portion control is a very poorly understood concept. Both obesity and type II diabetes diagnoses have soared as unhealthy foods which for the most part consist of cheap cuisine, and have battered, baked and buttered themselves into practically every American household and pantry. Yet, what many people don’t realize is the addictive qualities of unhealthy food and “addictive, literally, in the same way as drugs…today added sugar is everywhere, used in approximately 75 percent of packaged foods purchased in the United States. The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day” (DiNicolantonio & Lucan, 2014).
Generally, eating disorders occur due to some sort of stress or anxiety existing persistently in the victim’s life. With binge eating disorders, food tends to become dependable. The addictive qualities of sugar and chemicals paired with the readily availableness of junk food can easily influence the thoughts and behaviors of those who are already lacking self-confidence or susceptible to unhealthy habits. Eating disorders are mental health disorders. While binge eating and bulimia are often closely related, “binge eating disorder is an illness that involves eating, in a specific period of time. More food is eaten than others eat in the same amount of time, under the same circumstances.” However, bulimia is followed by excessive purging or use of laxatives after excessive consumption. Moreover, “binge eating disorder is found in about 1% to 2% of the general population and is seen more often in women than men” (McLean Hospital).
Furthermore, binge eating is often accompanied by feelings of immense guilt as well as behavioral changes. Victims of binge eating may become secretive, lie about food, hide food or eat large amounts of food during strange hours of the day, and often later struggle with obesity, diabetes and/or other serious health problems.
Sometimes, binge eating victims begin to believe food is inextricably tied with their identities. Body-image is a huge issue in the United States as well as around the world. Weight issues paired with relatively consistent images of thin models dominating magazine covers and presenting sometimes unrealistic body goals can easily contribute to eating disorders.
There are many types of therapy options for binge eating disorders as well as nutritional rehab centers which focus on highlighting the importance of healthy eating as well as providing healthy food knowledge and options. Likewise, there exists a myriad of face to face conversation prompts which can sometimes help victims by giving them more validation than food is able too.
Click here for first-hand accounts and experiences of those suffering from binge eating.
DiNicolantonio, J., & Lucan, S. (2014, December 22). Opinion | Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/23/opinion/sugar-season-its-everywhere-and-addictive.html
M. (n.d.). Eating Disorders. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from http://www.mcleanhospital.org/consumer-education/eating-disorders
Babakhan, J. (2017, July 25). This Is What It’s Really Like to Have Binge Eating Disorder. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from http://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/what-is-binge-eating-disorder/
Seaman, A. (2017, August 02). Face-to-face therapy best to treat binge eating disorder. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-mental-eating-binge-idUSKBN1AI2MX