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Binge Eating Classified as Third Eating Disorder

  1. #1
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    Binge Eating Classified as Third Eating Disorder

    http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps...0067&Ref=AR

    Binge Eating Classified as Third Eating Disorder

    By SUE VORENBERG
    Scripps Howard News Service
    Published: Thursday, May. 20, 2004

    “Helen” doesn’t mind that she hasn’t eaten chocolate in 21 years.

    In fact, the longtime member of Overeaters Anonymous says she hasn’t even missed it, which is the real miracle.

    Helen, 66, who asked her real name not be used to protect the organization’s 12-step program, is thin now, but she remembers the old days all too well.

    She used to eat jelly beans and Snickers bars in bed until she passed out from insulin shock. Her obsession with food literally, and figuratively, consumed her.

    “I just ate all the time, and if I wasn’t eating I was thinking about how to get more food,” she said, her blue eyes mirroring the intensity of her addiction. “I didn’t go to a show to see a movie. I went to have license to eat. I would even plan my binges. I would line food around my bed so I could eat until I passed out.”

    Helen’s symptoms are typical of a newly recognized disease called binge-eating disorder, although she calls herself a compulsive overeater.

    Her disease is one of three eating disorders – anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the other two – that have been on the rise across the United States, said Joel Yager, a University of New Mexico psychiatry professor who specializes in eating disorders.

    “There has been a definite rise in anorexia and bulimia every year since the 1950s,” Yager said. “That may have to do with society’s preoccupation with slimness, as fashion models and actresses have gotten slimmer on TV and in magazines. That creates a lot of social peer pressure to be an unhealthy low weight.”

    Binge-eating disorder – which is diagnosed in about 70 percent of people more than 100 pounds overweight – is also rising across the United States in women and men. It is part of the obesity epidemic, caused by underlying mental disorders complicated by an overabundance of unhealthy food and poor exercise habits, Yager said.

    “I don’t think compulsive overeating and binge eating are any different,” Helen said. “There are two types of overeaters, one type that grazes and eats all day long; the others eat a trigger food and keep eating it. Usually that’s something unhealthy. Nobody binges on spinach.”

    In Helen’s case, binge-eating disorder left her susceptible to Type II diabetes and joint problems. She also had frequent memory loss after her food binges, she said.

    She bottomed out in 1983, as a nursing student in California. Her 5-foot-6 frame had swelled to 215 pounds, 85 more than her suggested ideal weight of 130.

    “The strange thing is it wasn’t the weight that did it,” she said. “As part of my training, I attended a workshop on alcoholism in the older adult. Everyone took a questionnaire on alcohol addiction, and I felt fine cause I didn’t answer yes on any of them.”

    Later than night, however, Helen had an epiphany.

    “I said to myself, ‘Substitute food for alcohol and overeating for drinking,’” she said. “It was right then I knew this was more than a lack of willpower. I decided to go to Overeaters Anonymous to get help.”

    The root of Helen’s disease is very similar to anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, the other two main eating disorders – both of which are associated with unhealthy weight loss.

    Anorexics starve themselves to be thin and face a host of health problems, including bone loss, heart failure and death. Bulimics binge on food, much as those with binge-eating disorder, but then force themselves to vomit, creating health problems such as heart failure, ulcers and malnutrition, Yager said.

    “People who have these three disorders have a tendency to be anxious, shy and easily frightened as children,” Yager said. “They have self-confidence problems.”

  2. #2
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    That sounds like my MIL. She sits in bed and eats all night long. SHe hides it too. She started to get my son like that and it has been hell breaking him from it. He was three when we moved away from them and I would catch him in the middle of the night sneaking sweets. Wow. I didn't realize -- eating disorder--never equated the two.

  3. #3
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    I think it was Roseanne Barr who said something like, "I have bulimia. I just forget to purge"

    I can't imagine binging until I passed out!

  4. #4
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    wow Blueskyes what an article!! I never thought of bingeing (no purging) as being an eating disorder!! How weird is that!! Even though I do binge sometimes I've always felt it was weak will or something! thanks for posting that! lynne

  5. #5
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    AWESOME article. I have a bit of that problem. I think every women has it to a small extent.

    -Micky

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