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The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/gwc/news/binging.htm
Updated April 11, 2015
- Peter Gerlach, MSW
Out-of-control binge eating is the biggest eating disorder in the United States, more common than anorexia and bulimia combined and contributing to a rise in obesity, researchers said on Thursday.
Binge eating afflicts 3.5 percent of U.S. women and 2 percent of men at some point in their lives, according to a study by psychiatric researchers at Harvard University Medical School and its affiliate, McLean Psychiatric Hospital.
"I suspect that the connection that we have drawn in this study is just the tip of the iceberg of the problem of out-of-control eating and its relationship to obesity," Dr. James Hudson, the study's lead author, told Reuters.
He said binge eating -- where people cannot stop from eating well beyond the point of being full at least twice a week -- is a chronic and persistent condition in the United States that is under-reported and under-diagnosed. "The most striking finding of the study is the emergence of binge eating as a major public-health problem," Hudson said.
The researchers surveyed more than 9,000 people from 2001 to 2003 in the first national survey of eating disorders.
It said about 0.9 percent of women and 0.3 percent of men reported suffering at some point from anorexia nervosa -- a disorder characterized by refusing to eat and an obsessive desire to be thin. It said 1.5 percent of women and 0.5 percent of men reported the condition of bulimia, in which binge eating is followed by attempts to compensate by methods such as self-induced vomiting or excessive laxative use or exercise.
It also found a "surprisingly high" proportion of men with anorexia and bulimia -- at one-fourth of the reported cases for each of those disorders.
"We believe that the estimates for binge-eating disorder are really under-estimates. That people are often very ashamed of this behavior, and for everyone who is willing to talk about it in a face-to-face interview there are others who don't bring it up or don't elaborate," Hudson said.
Health risks include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, the researchers said.
"I felt that I could never recover," said Johanna Kandel, 28, who was anorexic as a teenager before developing into a binge eater at age 18, a condition that lasted about three years. "You can't think anymore, you can't function, you can't laugh. It just steals everything away from you. It makes it very hard to concentrate and hold relationships," said Kandel, who founded the nonprofit Alliance for Eating Disorders. "It was the first thing I thought about in the morning and the last thing I thought about at night," she said.
There was no scientific explanation for binge eating, although genes and easy access to food could play a role, said Hudson. A typical binge eater might follow dinner with a quart of ice cream and bag of chips without being able to stop.
Anorexia typically lasts 1.7 years, compared with 8.3 years for bulimia and 8.1 years for binge eating, the study said.
This article reports credible evidence of the widespread lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle in America - an unhealthy obsession with (addiction to) the reliable comfort derived from overeating. The article doesn't specify what typical binge-eaters consume, but I suspect further study would confirm that it's high-fat, high-sugar, high-carbohydrate "comfort" foods that temporarily reduce inner pain. This reflex is the same as binge drinking alcohol, a major symptom of alcoholism. Food and alcohol are both drugs - i.e. they each induce changes in hormones and brain chemistry.
Note the sentence that states "There was no scientific explanation for binge eating, although genes and easy access to food could play a role..." This statement demonstrates current scientific, public, and media ignorance of how early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse ("trauma") promotes a toxic compulsion to self-medicate from inner pain.
Premise - the real problem is not widespread addictions, but what causes the inner pain. For an explanation and action-options based on 36 years' research, see this.
CDC research report on epidemic U.S. self-neglect
"Eating disorders a guy thing too, study finds;"
Research summary: "Children From 'Risky Families' Suffer Serious Long-Term Health Consequences, UCLA Scientists Report"
NIH research summary - Dieting Harder for "Emotional Eaters"
This proposed update of, the "Anonymous" 12 steps to control an addiction.
Overeaters Anonymous (OA) home page