Binge eating disorders remain severely under-discussed


Erinn Gardner

When the world thinks of eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia generally come to mind. However, they rarely discuss the effect of Binge Eating Disorders (BED) because these do not result in the so-called “ideal body” longed for by the average person. Rather than an individual starving themselves or not eating, BED results in uncontrolled overeating. People must educate themselves on BED as much as the others, as it proves to affect more of the population.

Erinn Gardner, Editor In Chief

Like a majority of conditions and illnesses, eating disorders come in a variety of  forms. Unfortunately, society picks and chooses what to praise and degrade, solely based on one’s physical appearance. The world continuously engrains the idea that a skinnier body equals a healthier lifestyle. Those with anorexia and bulimia typically strive to reach a weight goal, resulting in individuals either not eating at all or purging food once they do eat. However, Binge Eating disorders (BED) remain heavily undiscussed, but just as significant as the others. 

Characterized by a person who compulsively eats an abundance of food, BED affects all ages, genders and ethnicities with a strong force. One who suffers from this eating disorder typically eats copious amounts of food and feels a great deal of shame afterwards, leading to depression and other mental illnesses. This disorder significantly differs from the other main two. Anorexia and bulimia usually stem from people wishing to possess a petite figure, while binge eating usually links back to stress, anxiety and low self esteem. 

“I rarely hear people even talk about binge eating disorders, let alone actually address them in a non-fatphobic manner. I think people undermine this particular eating disorder because rather than making you skinny, it can cause weight gain and of course people are prone to undermining a fat person’s issues. Some may also assume that it is not as bad as things like anorexia or bulimia, and while those other things may be more extreme most times, it doesn’t mean that a binge eating disorder should be looked down upon,” senior Alyssa Smith said. 

While the other two illnesses prove just as fatal, society tends to under-educate themselves and undermine the seriousness of BED. In fact, it affects three times the number of people diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia combined. Because those with this disorder compulsively partake in food, their bodies usually reflect that. However, people commonly misconstrue the difference between BED and simply suffering from an overweight body due to long term eating and genetics. On the other hand, not everyone who suffers from it necessarily “looks the part”, as they hold an average weight. 

“Once the mania began in isolation, I became a slave to my flesh. At all hours, I lived imprisoned in my imagination, unable to connect to reality and engage in life. On the outside, I seemed like an aloof nine-year-old, but at my core, I was an animal foaming at the mouth. Every evening after supper, I looked for an opportunity to ditch my time with Nana; instead, I sneaked bags of candies and chips into my bedroom, then I binged and worked off the calories for hours on end,” author Nikki Dubose said.

Symptoms of BED include fatigue, rapid weight gain, interrupted sleep, depression, secretive behavior regarding food and several more. Nevertheless, one should receive clinical testing for an official diagnosis, so that they can acquire coping mechanisms and a selection of aids.