Eating Recovery Center In The News: PsychCentral.com
Eating Recovery Center's Clinical Director of Outpatient Services Karen Trevithick, PsyD, CEDS, speaks to Weightless blog on the facts about binge eating disorder. Read an excerpt from the Q&A below or to view it in its entirety click here. Facts About Binge Eating Disorder: Q&A with Karen Trevithick Binge eating disorder (BED) is finally becoming an official diagnosis in the diagnostic and statistical manual for mental health professionals (DSM 5). So this is a good time to highlight facts about the disorder, because, unfortunately, it’s still misunderstood (and not talked about much). For starters, you might be surprised to learn that BED is actually the most common eating disorder. It affects 3.5 percent of American women and 2 percent of American men. Most importantly, BED is highly treatable. Effective treatments are available, and recovery is absolutely possible. You can have a healthy and peaceful relationship with food, weight and yourself. Below, Karen Trevithick, PsyD, CEDS, clinical director for Eating Recovery Center’s Outpatient Services, reveals the biggest myths about BED, why it’s so misunderstood, why dieting doesn’t work and signs you can watch out for. Q: Why is binge eating disorder so misunderstood in our society? A: Binge eating is characterized by consuming large quantities of food in one setting, feeling numb or disconnected while doing so, and possibly losing track of time. Repeated episodes of binge eating may lead to weight gain – and over time, may contribute to one’s body mass index falling in the obese range. In our society, there is a significant focus on the “thin ideal,” which leads to an emphasis on diet and exercise. Overall, there is a greater acceptance of restraint and control. Someone struggling with BED is likely to experience shame, not only for feeling out of control with his/her eating, but for behaving in a manner that is almost contrary to what is valued in our society. The combination of individual shame and cultural acceptance of the thin ideal provides little opportunity for an open dialogue about BED. Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about this disorder? A: Individuals who are within their weight range, or even under weight, could not possibly struggle with BED, only obese individuals struggle. While weight gain and obesity can be signifiers of BED, symptom severity (such as intensity and frequency of binge episodes, feeling numb or disconnected during binge episodes, and/or feeling a loss of control while eating) is a far better indicator. All obese individuals must be struggling with BED. It is currently determined that BED has an estimated prevalence of 3.5 percent in adults. The hallmark trait of BED is the psychological distress caused by a relationship with food. Additionally, there are typically psychiatric issues such as anxiety and/or depression that individuals with BED may also face. So although an individual may be slightly overweight or obese, that does not automatically mean he or she is struggling with BED.