Today, on the home page of www.Yahoo.com, one of the most popular sites on the Internet, is a banner highlighting Binge Eating Disorder (BED) for adults. The banner also includes a video, information about the disorder, and where to find help.
Now, the banner and the corresponding link for Binge Eating Disorder.com are meant for adults, and not for teens. However, the disorder is one that is experienced by millions of teens around the world. In fact, many adults who struggle with BED began their struggle during adolescence.
Binge eating is an experience of eating a large amount of food within a specific period of time, accompanied by a feeling of not being able to stop, or a lack of control. Binge eating is also characterized by eating more rapidly than normal, eating alone, eating a large amount of food even despite not feeling hungry, eating until the body is uncomfortable, and feeling disgusted or guilty later.
If you’ve never been diagnosed with BED and you find yourself participating in this behavior at least 2 times per week for at least 6 months, it might be a good idea to talk to an adult you trust. Binge Eating Disorder is not an illness that you can fix on your own. It’s important that you get the support you need as soon as possible. And here’s why:
BED is not simply a pattern of over-eating. It’s much more than that. The trouble is that the eating is compulsive; you just can’t stop. There’s no internal indication that your body is getting full as you eat, or that you should limit yourself. You eat each cookie in the box and then you eat the muffins and then the left over garlic bread. There’s a drive to keep eating and eating, perhaps even a sense of psychological pressure that you must continue to eat. Only when you literally cannot take another bite does the eating stop.
BED is not overeating; it’s more an experience of compulsive behavior. A compulsion is an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against your own conscious wishes. It’s when you feel as though you can’t stop, when you have an irresistible urge that goes against your conscious wishes. Despite knowing that eating in this way is harmful, you continue to do it anyway. Like an addiction, you’ve lost your power over it.
And when you’ve lost power over something, it’s important to examine the underlying beliefs you might have about power. Of course, as a teen, you might feel like you don’t have much power particularly because your parents likely are still holding the reigns in your life. Yet, part of treating BED is looking at the dynamics of power in your life.
But first, it’s essential that you’re first examined by a doctor. At times, binge eating can create some significant health concerns, which would need to be addressed immediately. Binge Eating Disorder is a form of an eating disorder, which is not only has psychological effects, but physical effects as well. Therefore, treatment will include seeing a doctor and likely a therapist as well. Typically, the treatment of binge eating focuses on the compulsive tendencies towards eating, the inability to control intake of food, and the use of eating as a way to cope with underlying intense psychological issues and their related emotions. The psychological treatment of binge eating includes the examination of these underlying beliefs to restore a healthy relationship with food, the body, and with life.
If you’re struggling with binge eating, or any eating disorder such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa, talk to an adult you trust. This could be a parent, teacher, school counselor, or even a relative. Doing so can be the first step in healing your body and mind.
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.