Binge-Eating Disorder Is Not a Choice
Binge-Eating Disorder Is Not a gluttony
I received an Email from a sufferer in Emirates States regarding his Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and gastric bypass surgery.
“I work for an oil company in Emirates and my work evolves around travels to different Gulf Countries. I never knew I had a BED till this year. For past eight years I’ve been overeating. I’m always attending company meetings and these usually involve large lunches and dinner. When everything is paid by company, you indulge and over indulge. Between travels there’s not much time for exercise or to eat healthy. I also had a very unusual and very large appetite, which shocked most people. I wasn’t too happy with myself or my expanding waist line and last year I went under the surgeon’s knife and had a gastric bypass surgery. It costed me AED 45,000. I saw this as an investment in health. I can’t eat large meals anymore, but I’ve started to smoke compulsively. I can easily smoke three – four packs in a day. I’ve come across information on BED and after consulting a psychiatrist in USA, it’s for sure, I suffer or suffered from this disorder. I don’t know what’s worst BED or this addiction to smoking? Some of the people I know have also gone through gastric bypass surgery to stop overeating and I think it’s about time, people know more about this illness and get the right treatment before they trade one addiction for other.” 32 year old Male Emirates
The problem in UAE
Obesity is a global epidemic and currently 250 million people worldwide are classified as obese. The obesity rate in the UAE is double the world average, according to a disease study report (Reported by the National)
Furthermore, according to a report entitled the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, more than 66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women in the UAE are already overweight or obese.
Binge Eating is Not Gluttony- The idea that binge-eating disorder is gluttony stigmatizes the disorder and assumes that people have full control over their behavior. Nobody is choosing to eat this way.
But here we need to differentiate between people who are overweight and people who suffer from psychiatric disorder, such as addiction to food and Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Also over eating and gluttony is different from Binge Eating Disorder. Remember 2011 when more than 1,300 people needed treatment at a Qatari hospital after suffering from stomach upsets caused by excessive eating on the first two days of Eid Al Adha? We saw this again in 2013 when dozens of people suffering from abdominal pain were admitted to hospitals in Qatar after overeating on the first night of Ramadan. What happened? Were they simply overly indulging or did some of them had BED? We don’t know the answer. But please keep in mind, A glutton takes pleasure in eating. Conversely, those who have binge-eating disorder are some of the most distressed people on the planet. Their stress is caused by their inability to control their disorder.
What separates overeating from binge eating disorder?
According to Toby D. Goldsmith, MD
- The binge eating episodes occur regularly, at least twice a week for six months.
- The binge eater finds the episodes very upsetting. If there is no emotional upheaval over the meal, it is not a binge eating disorder.
- The binge eater does not like to eat in public. To him, eating is a private behavior. To most other people, eating and mealtime is a time to be shared and enjoyed with friends and family.
- The binge eater does not feel normal physiological cues like hunger and being full. He eats more from emotional cues, such as anger and sadness.
Having Gastric Bypass before Dealing with Food Addiction Problem is Dangerous
According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, “Food addiction involves the repetitive consumption of food against the individuals better judgment resulting in loss of control and preoccupation or the restriction of food and preoccupation with body weight and image.”
The most popular surgeries in the UAE are the sleeve gastrectomy and the gastric bypass, in which doctors shrink the stomach and alter the digestive system to induce weight loss. The procedures are free for Emiratis.
Many obese patients seeking gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss procedures are really tackling more than those extra pounds. Without an effective coping mechanism and support system in place before the procedure, many end up turning to other addictions in order to cope with stress, boredom, frustration or simply managing their emotions.
According to Kathryn Friedman Sloan, a mental health counselor in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, “The problem is that many people who have surgery haven’t been in therapy to address the issues behind their eating disorder. Most of them are emotional eaters, and when you take that away, they’re left with ‘what do I do with my emotions?”
Addiction transfer can be the answer for many, the mental and behavioral process of trading one addiction for another. For gastric bypass patients previously suffering from an eating disorder, the compulsive tendencies can turn into shopping addiction, compulsive gambling, compulsive spending or even smoking.
We really need to dispel the myths surrounding BED. I found great this great article on CBS WEBSITE by Sunny Sea Gold, the author of “Food: The Good Girl’s Drug. She dispels some dangerous myths about BED. I hope it helps you to gain some understanding of this disorder.
Watch this short video where Sunny Sea Gold talks about her BED.
Binge-eating: 11 dangerous myths
Overeat? We all do once in a while. But binge eaters do so regularly, scarfing down ice cream, chips, cookies, and other sugary, fatty, or carb-rich foods. Binge eaters often hide their out-of-control eating because they fear what others will say. But it’s a myth that binge eating is simply a bad habit or evidence of poor self-control.
And that’s just one many myths about binge eating, according to recovered binge eater Sunny Sea Gold, the author of “Food: The Good Girl’s Drug.” Please read on as Gold dispels 10 dangerous myths about a condition that affects surprising numbers of women – and men too.
Myth: Binge eating isn’t a real disorder
Some say binge eating disorder is a fake disorder – a term people use as an excuse to keep eating. In fact, binge eating is a real disorder that’s listed (along with anorexia and bulimia) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the “bible” of mental illness.
The DSM currently lists binge eating as an eating disorder “not otherwise specified.” But psychologists are considering giving binge eating disorder (BED) its own entry when the new DSM comes out in 2013.
Myth: Binge eaters have no willpower
Think binge eaters just sit around at home stuffing their faces? Actually, many binge eaters are highly successful people with plenty of drive and determination. Binge eating disorder actually compels people to eat – just as alcoholism compels people to drink. There’s now mounting evidence that, for binge eaters, eating activates specific regions of the brain in much the same way that using cocaine or heroin lights up specific brain regions in substance abusers.
Myth: Binge eaters should just go on a diet
Dieting can’t “cure” binge eating disorder. In fact, traditional calorie-restriction diets can actually trigger binges, even in people who don’t have binge eating disorder. (Overeating is a normal reaction to deprivation – just ask anyone who’s been on a diet!) Scientists have even turned lab rats into binge eaters by taking away their favorite foods.
What does help people overcome binge eating? Psychotherapy and support groups such as those offered by Overeaters Anonymous.
Myth: Binge eaters are fat
Some binge eaters are overweight, but not all. Many binge eaters use crash diets to maintain a normal weight – even though they might take in 2,000 or more excess calories on a daily basis. Some binge eaters are actually underweight.
Myth: Binge eating is a female thing
Eating disorders are more common in women, but men suffer too. Studies suggest that about 2 percent of American men have binge eating disorder, as compared to 3 percent to 5 percent of women. Roughly one in five eating disorders of any kind are diagnosed in men.
Myth: Binge eaters just don’t know when to stop
Many binge eaters know all about portion control. But binge eating disorder compels them to keep going beyond the point when they feel comfortably full – even if the food is burnt or spoiled or has dropped on the floor. Believe it or not, many binge eaters say they’ve lost the ability to enjoy food.
Myth: Kids don’t binge-eat
Binge eating behavior has been seen in children as young as six. Any parent who suspects that a child is sneaking food, hiding food, or experiencing a loss of control around food should consult a child psychologist or psychiatrist with experience in treating eating disorders.
Myth: Recovery means avoiding “trigger foods” forever
Some people think recovering from binge eating means avoiding certain foods – the same way alcoholics generally must avoid alcohol for the rest of their lives. Sugary, fatty, or carbohydrate-rich foods can trigger binge eating in some people, and many people with binge eating disorder choose to cut back on these foods for a while. But most people can safely eat these foods once they’ve recovered from binge eating disorder.
Myth: Surgery is the key to recovery
Gastric bypass and other forms of weight-loss (bariatric) surgery can sometimes eliminate diabetes and other physical problems caused by obesity. But it can’t eliminate the psychological disorder that causes people to binge-eat.
Following weight-loss surgery, some former binge-eaters find they are unable to eat as much food as they once did – and so become heavy drinkers or compulsive shoppers as a result.
Myth: Doctors are the go-to experts
Doctors may not be the best expert to consult if you or a loved one has a binge eating problem – and no wonder, since medical schools often place little emphasis on eating disorders.
When it comes to getting good advice and effective help for binge eating, a psychotherapist or dietitian who specializes in eating disorders may be your best bet.
A great Resource from Overcome Binge Eating on How to Stop Binge Eating. Please Click on link below to download.
Online Support Help
Qualified Therapists in the Middle East Region
Carole Chidiac, Dubai
Telephone 00971 434 94880 / 00971 504 545522
Carole has been taking care of multi-national families in cosmopolitan Dubai since 1998. She is a medical doctor trained to work with eating disorders & she believes in evidence based medicine & psychotherapy, influenced of course by patient-informed decisions & needs. She has wide experience of all common medical disorders & mental health issues, in particular body image & weight concerns, which has led to her gain specialist qualifications in working with eating disorders. She works as part of a specialist eating disorder team alongside a psychologist & a nutritionist. Carole works with children, adolescents and adults.
Carine El Khazen, Dubai
Telephone 00971 431 41000
Carine is a clinical psychologist/ psychotherapist specialising in eating disorders & addictions, first at the General Medical Centre in Dubai then as part of the eating disorders outpatient service at the American Centre for Psychiatry & Neurology. She is the Chief Operations Office for MEEDA (The Middle East Eating Disorders Association) – running Awareness workshops around the U.A.E in schools, universities & medical clinics. Carine uses ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) & EMDR (Eye Movement Desentization & Reprocessing) – a leading method for treating trauma, which she integrates with her psychotherapy training to provide a holistic approach for all mental health disorders including depression, anxiety & trauma.
Carine has a Masters in Clinical & Psychopathological Pathology from Lebanon, a Diploma in Clinical Psychology from France & The Eating Disorder Practitioner Diploma from NCFED, UK.
Sandra Wilby, Ras Al Khaima UAE
Telephone 056 7899538
Sandra brings 25+ years of professional experience, including an extensive background in social work, psychology & trauma. Her educational achievements include an Masters in Psychology & Social Administration, a post graduate Diploma in Applied Social Studies & Certificate of Qualification in Social Work. She has gained further qualifications in Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR), Clinical Hypnotherapy, Transpersonal Regression Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), CBT, Observed & Experiential Integration (OEI) Therapy (a neurological approach to trauma) & The Eating Disorder Practitioner Diploma from NCFED, UK. Sandra is now working in private practice under the licence of Personal Development Solutions.
Maria Abi Hanna, Dubai
Telephone 00971 4 342 5208
Maria is a licensed clinical dietician, with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics. from the AUB. She now works in a nutrition centre in the UAE, counseling a wide range of clients, helping them make positive changes to their lifestyle & diet . Her main interests are eating disorders, weight management, adolescent & sports nutrition. As she believes in the multi-disciplinary approach to ensure maximum benefit to her patients, Maria works closely with a team of medical doctors, psychologists & dieticians.
Complimenting her one-on-one counseling, Maria shares her passion for & expertise in the field of dietetics & nutrition by actively being involved within the community, conducting numerous workshops at schools & corporations emphasizing the importance of healthy eating habits / active lifestyles. Maria holds The Eating Disorder Practitioner Diploma from NCFED, UK.