Many people confuse binge eating with typical “stress” eating – for example, someone may say that they were “binge eating” last night because they were stressed about their recent breakup. Although the term “binge eating” has made its way into casual conversation, it is hardly so. Binge eating disorder is a serious condition and should be treated as such. Misconceptions surrounding this disorder make treatment more difficult, especially if daily conversation “normalizes” it.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating copious amounts of food, often very quickly and to the point of discomfort. Binge eating involves feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment after each eating episode – many who have this disorder to not wish to casually discuss their episodes with friends or family afterwards. The true definition of binge eating defies the context in which it is typically used; there are many other misconceptions that need to be addressed:

Myth: Binge eating disorder isn’t that common and is quite rare.

Fact: Eating Disorder Hope, binge eating disorder is the most common of all eating disorders, but unfortunately has the fewest treatment options. In fact, binge eating disorder was not added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychological Association until spring of 2013.

Myth: Binge eating disorder is the same as overeating.

Fact: Walden Eating Disorders Treatment Center states that although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they are very different. Getting a second or third plate of food at dinner doesn’t constitute as binge eating – binge eating goes beyond one meal. While both involve eating beyond fullness, binge eating disorder involves a loss of control – a person cannot stop eating even if they want to.

Myth: Binge eating disorder only impacts overweight individuals.

Fact: CBS News claims that anyone of any size can have binge eating disorder – some individuals may even be underweight. The body’s metabolic rate can sometimes make up for large consumption of food, and some people may exercise or take on “crash diets” to maintain a normal weight.

There are many misconceptions surrounding binge eating disorder, and those false perceptions downplay, make fun of, and reinforce the absence of treatment. Our societal discussions surrounding binge eating disorder should be that of respect, concern, and person-focused. Treatment is the first step towards overcoming the symptoms of this disorder.

If you have an eating disorder and are ready to begin your journey to recovery, call us at New Vista Behavioral Health today. We have several national treatment centers with licensed, experienced health care professionals that truly care about your well-being. We are client-focused, and offer holistic, integrative treatment plans that best suit your needs. Take control of your life today. Call us at 855-577-0113.

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