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How can I explain my binge eating disorder (binges without purges) to others?

10 Answers
Last Updated: 04/17/2017 at 4:29am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lisa Groesz, PhD


With evidenced based therapies, we find the root of the problem together to implement solutions. We all face crises, transitions, or disorders at some time.

Top Rated Answers
December 8th, 2014 6:49pm
Sadly binge eating disorder has a more negative perception to most people when compared to other eating disorders because people mistakenly can associate some of the side effects eg.Being overweight to negative personal attributes such as being lazy.It is important then when explaining your eating disorders to others to consider what their pre-conceived ideas might be so that you can explain your situation in the most accurate manner and hopefully educate them a little.Primarily I think it's important to consider that eating disorders of any type are not a 'choice' and are often associated with control or trying to have control.I would also explain how your eating disorder affects you personally because everyone is different for example you could tell them about the emotions you individually feel after binge eating to emphasis the fact it is not solely associated with 'food' but has a much deeper emotional component.It might also be worth finding online resources specific to your disorder and letting others know about them so they become aware of the serious nature of your problem and are in a more educated position to support you.
December 5th, 2014 9:23pm
One thing to emphasize is that binge eating disorder is a real mental illness; tell them about your feelings about the disorder and what they can do to support you. It might be helpful to send them a link to NEDA, ANAD, NEDC, or another eating disorder resource so that they can learn more about binge eating disorder and the misconceptions surrounding it. This CBSNews article is a good start; it takes down 11 of the most common myths about binge eating disorder:
December 5th, 2014 1:55am
I think the best way would be to compare it with an addiction. People understand and sympathize when others are addicted to drugs, sex, gambling, etc., so hopefully that would help them understand your binge eating disorder. A lot of people understand bulimia as well, so perhaps you can describe it as "it's like bulimia without throwing up or purging."
December 5th, 2014 10:05am
Offer them a chance to ask questions and answer them honestly and simply. Try and compare it to something they can relate to.
December 5th, 2014 8:46pm
The only advice I can give is to be honest. Try to communicate that it's an addiction and an illness.
December 6th, 2014 7:08am
There's not really an easy or simple way to go about this, just because it is such a personal topic. I'd say just be prepared for lots of questions and do research about binge eating disorder itself so you're prepared for anything they have questions about!
December 19th, 2014 8:07pm
I think one way would be to explain that you are not just stuffing yourself because you can't control it. You can do so by sharing that you deal with emotional pain by bingeing, that you know it is not a healthy way to deal with pain of this sort and that you want to change. Maybe, if you explain it by analogy, that is similar to an addiction such as alcoholism in which a person tends to drink excessively to numb the pain they feel inside - tell them that you are trying to learn better, healthier ways to deal with your emotional issues. I hope this is helpful.
December 28th, 2014 5:39pm
I would first say that I have an issue where I compulsively overeat, and that it is affecting me mentally. I would say that I cannot stop eating, and I believe that my signs show symptoms of me suffering from binge eating disorder.
December 30th, 2015 1:50am
Explain that it's similar to when an alcoholic binge drinks, but that your substance is food, not alcohol. There have been some compelling studies done recently that suggest that sugar is at least as addictive as cocaine or heroin.
April 17th, 2017 4:29am
Its hard. I am in the exact same boat as you. I don't really know how to explain that I over eat to cope with stress, and I overeat when I feel sad, and I over eat when I feel anything negative. I overeat to cope with my emotions and I know it is not healthy. Its an unhealthy relationship with food.