I facilitated support groups for women with Eating Disorders for many years, and found that a majority of these women suffered from Binge Eating Disorder. After listening to these ladies and observing them for many years I came to the conclusion that food addiction is a reality for many of them. I found plenty of research and professional opinions to confirm my suspicions that: Some cases of Binge Eating Disorder should be treated along the same lines as that of substance abuse.
Read this Binge Eating Disorder case study to better understand where I’m coming from:
I have a friend who is a recovered drug addict. She volunteered to be a case study, to further my research in this particular area. She told me that she traded addictions. This means that when she stopped using drugs, she needed something to fill the void and turned to food. She described her life when she was addicted to drugs, and how she was shocked and appalled to see that using food pushed her along the same paths as drug addiction. From observing her and others, I made the following analogy between the patterns found in the life of a drug addict and that of someone with an eating disorder:
Note: I do realize that there are some well noted differences, but take a look at the host of similarities:
A drug addict often uses drugs to cover over pain and escape reality
Many people with eating disorders talk about using food as a drug to numb pain and escape reality
As a rule, drug addicts can’t stop their behavior voluntarily, regardless of the damage it does to their health and their relationships
This pattern of being powerless is very much present in eating disorders, the damage to health and family may take longer to surface, but it is just as real
Drug addicts has to get sober or clean to deal with the pain or emotional problems that caused them to start using drugs in the first place
People with eating disorders will not deal with their pain as long as they still binge, purge or starve themselves, they too have to get “sober” first
Drug addicts experience severe withdrawal symptoms when halting the abusive substance
People who daily use huge amounts of sugar, caffeine and fat goes through withdrawal symptoms when they stop eating these, although the symptoms are not as severe
Drug addicts often want out of their addiction, but are unable to get out on their own
People with eating disorders promise themselves every day that they are getting out but are unable to do so on their own, year after year
Drug addicts feel a deep shame, guilt and self-hatred that makes them sink even deeper
People with eating disorders wear shame, guilt and self-hatred like a cloak, this cause them to repeat the eating disorder cycle over and over
Drug addicts always need more of the substance which many times leads to an overdose and even death
Eating disorders are also progressive, the amount of food or diet pills that worked a year ago, does not calm the pain or suppress the fear anymore, which can also lead to death if not treated
When my friend understood the connection between the two addictions, she had hope for the first time in many years and commented to me: “If I could kick the drug habit, I’m sure I can do this too!” Of course it was difficult, as these things usually are, but in the end she did it by eliminating addictive food from her life.
I could see the obvious turn in her recovery when she stopped viewing her eating disorder as this thing that should be fixed with a diet. She got the picture that; certain food seemed to help her cope, but in reality destroyed her life, just like drugs.
This case study of a person with Binge Eating Disorder and it’s close link to food addiction opened my eyes to a host of new ways to help a certain group of ladies. I incorporated the above research and observations as a crucial part of my 12 Week Online course for women with Eating Disorders.
You can get help for yourself or a loved one through my 12 Week Online Study Course. I’ve compiled this course from my own experience with food struggles, insight and understanding I’ve gained through counseling ladies in my support groups, Biblical principals, as well as material I’ve gathered by well-known Christian authors, counselors, and doctors. This study is jam-packed with information, practical guide lines and honest testimonies.
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