Does one eating disorder trump another one?

Do some eating disorders trump others? That’s among the common misconceptions surrounding eating disorders – namely that Anorexia Nervosa is the most serious eating disorder. In fact, all eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. In today’s spotlight on Eating Disorder Awareness Week we bring you the common misconceptions surrounding these issues through a short film, and a tragically common case study of self-loathing – a familiar trait of those experiencing eating disorders.

I usually eat a lot on a Saturday night, Do I classify as having binge eating disorder?

Binge Eating Disorder isn’t just eating a lot of food, most of us will do that at some point. What makes BED distinct is the negative emotions and distress associated with it. A binge is classified as eating, in a short period of time a larger amount of food than would normally be consumed, associated with feelings of being out of control. There is often a build up of tension and anxiety before a binge. Binges are distressing, they bring negative emotions such as guilt, shame and sadness. Binges will usually happen alone in isolation, in secret. These binge episodes will occur at least once a week for 3 months. Overeating at times is completely normal, when a person overeats they can usually stop at any time.  In contrast a person with BED  will feel like they have lost complete control, the behaviour will feel frantic and people who are in a binge will usually eat at an incredibly fast rate. People with BED may also restrict their diet or have certain dietary rules around food. This can result in binge eating due to hunger and deprivation.

Case Study of self-loathing

For the last 30 years I have tortured myself. Sucked in by diet culture and rules. I thought that was the only way to control my weight, my body shape, my addiction to food and my compulsion to eat

excessively. Over the years it was a vicious circle of achievement and failure, and with more failure came more self-loathing, low self-esteem, and self-hatred for not being able to follow the rules.

Sound familiar?

Until this year. When I was pointed in the right direction and found myself contacting AMH EveryBody.  I was not aware Binge Eating is now considered an eating disorder and that there is help and support out there for us. I very quickly learned that it’s not really about the food but more about the feelings and emotions. I am moving away from ‘success’ and ‘failure’, and ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but more importantly from ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’. I am still learning and working my way through with the guidance and support of AMH EveryBody. I cannot recommend the process enough. Do not be afraid to reach out for help and support. You won’t regret it.


If you live in the Southern Health Trust Area you can contact the AMH everyBODY Team – T: 028 3839 2314 or E: dmccready@amh.org.uk


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