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By September 2, 2009 - 7:56pm
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my friend like binges sometimes she says it's not excessive but I really don't know my question is how do you know if its eating disorder and not just a bad habit

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Binge Eating Disorders (BED) are very real, and I am glad that you are trying to find answers for your friend!

There are a few different types of eating disorders that include binging, and to know if your friend has an eating disorder, disordered eating, or if her eating is just "unhealthy", you can read the criteria below for some answers (as well as talk with her about how she feels before/during/after eating). When someone is suffering from an eating disorder, it means they may be using food to combat strong negative emotions.

Warning Signs of Binge Eating Disorder (Renfrew Center)
* Eats large amounts of food when not physically hungry.
* Eats much more rapidly than normal.
* Eats until the point of feeling uncomfortably full.
* Often eats alone because of shame or embarrassment.
* Has feelings of depression, disgust, or guilt after eating.
* Has a history of marked weight fluctuations.

What you could observe: does your friend consuming an unusually large quantity of food in a short period of time (less than 2 hours) uncontrollably?

Here are some other ways that you can know if your friend has a Binging Eating Disorder (National Eating Disorder Association, NEDA):
- characterized primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full.
- there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets and often feelings of shame or self-hatred after a binge.
- people who overeat compulsively may struggle with anxiety, depression, and loneliness, which can contribute to their unhealthy episodes of binge eating.
- body weight may vary from normal to mild, moderate, or severe obesity.

Binge Eating Disorder vs. Bulimia:
Binge Eating Disorder" is also called "Compulsive Overeating". What DIane was also referring to above, with asking if your friend purges (makes herself vomit, over-exercising, uses laxatives, etc.) is called Bulimia Nervosa, which is a type of eating disorder that includes binging and then using compensatory behaviors to get rid of the food.

Can you tell us more specifically the behaviors that you have observed in your friend?

September 3, 2009 - 1:12pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

all I can tell you is what she told me. She said she eats excessively at home not at school. She hates school I think it's because she's angry with the boys at school. She feels fat and ugly. But she told me she doesn't think there's a problem with binging and purging because she wants to be how she wants to look. She also told me she gets depressed sometimes. She says she looks fat to

September 4, 2009 - 7:11pm

Hi, passionfruit, and thank you so much for your question!

First, I want to tell you that I'm glad you're concerned for your friend. The fact that you are worried about her tells me that you're a very thoughtful soul.

How often does your friend binge, and are they really binges, or just overeating?

Do you know if she also tries to purge, either by using laxatives or by making herself vomit afterward?

People overeat, or binge, for a lot of reasons. It's often for emotional comfort of some kind or another. If your friend has just had a really bad day at school or at work and comes home to eat a pint of ice cream, that's one thing (and not necessarily an eating disorder). But if she's binging several times a week, or eating half a gallon of ice cream at once, or making herself purge afterward, then that's a real reason for concern.

Can you tell me any more about her? Is she under a lot of stress in her life right now?

September 3, 2009 - 8:38am
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