Although binge eating disorder (or BED) does affect both men and women, the majority of sufferers happen to be female. Roughly 2% of all Americans suffer from BED at one point in their lives – close to 4 million men and women in total. Binge eating disorder is not uncommon amongst women in recovery for co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse. We at Willow Place focus on eating disorders (such as BED) in women, as well as addictive disorders pertaining to drugs and alcohol that happen to simultaneously exist. In many instances, women who are afflicted with one disorder will turn to the other as a means of coping. For example, a woman who is severely afflicted with BED may begin drinking heavily to numb overpowering feelings of shame. A woman who has lost all control over her drug use may begin engaging in unhealthy eating habits in attempts to regain control over some portion of her life. The psychology of such dual diagnosis disorders may seem illogical or incomprehensible to the inexperienced bystander. Fortunately, we are here to help.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
In order to adequately diagnose binge eating disorder, it must first be thoroughly understood. What is BED, and why are some women afflicted while others are not? Those afflicted with BED will typically eat large quantities of food over short periods of time, leaving them uncomfortably full. Binge eaters do not exercise to get rid of potential excess weight, nor do they attempt to purge their intake after – thus, many individuals who struggle with BED are either overweight or obese. It is common for those with BED to engage in the following compulsive behaviors:
- Eating even when not hungry
- Eating until uncomfortably full or sick
- Eating more rapidly than usual (during binge episodes)
- Eating privately because of shame and embarrassment
- Experiencing intense feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing after binge episodes
- Eating ritualistically
Women in recovery who struggle with BED tend to abuse alcohol more frequently than drugs. Alcohol exacerbates the issue by compromising inhibitions. While alcoholism may be a contributing factor in the development of this specific eating disorder, there are several other causes to consider as well.
Common Causes of Binge Eating Disorder
Family history may be a good indicator of BED, just as brain chemistry could point to a clear cut predisposition.
A lack of adequate emotional coping skills can lead to binge eating disorder. An ability to handle emotions efficiently and effectively is crucial to comprehensive recovery.
It is estimated that close to 50% of individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder are either currently depressed, or have suffered from depression in the past.
Attempting to diet can lead to binges. Restricting caloric intake or skipping meals typically leads to a binge later on.
Women in Recovery
We at Willow Place for Women understand that overcoming both disorders simultaneously is absolutely paramount to maintaining fulfilled and quality sobriety. There are few things more devastating than addictive disorders of any kind – such psychological maladies can completely overwhelm and destroy the lives of those afflicted. For more information on receiving help for either disorder, please call one of our trained representatives today.