Binge Eating Disorder is a Real Illness

June 25, 2015 Star LaBranche

Binge eating disorder is a real illness. Shocking, I know. Something in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V) (the manual for psychiatric disorders), something that doctors, therapists, and other mental health professionals have been working with, something that has medication for it, is actually a real illness. Take your time, if you need some. I know this might be really startling. But stay with me; binge eating disorder is a real illness..

Not Everyone Knows That Binge Eating Disorder is a Real Illness

It's, apparently, a secret that binge eating disorder is a real illness. Because there seem to beBinge eating disorder is a real illness. It negatively impacts people and disturbs lives. It's not an opinion, binge eating disorder is a real illness. plenty of people out there who are completely unaware of this actual issue and treat it like it's something that can be totally controlled with willpower and a little stick-to-it attitude. So let me bust this myth open right now and assure you: binge eating disorder is a real illness.

I recently posted an article I wrote for HealthyPlace, Binge Eating Disorder and Medication Side Effects, on my personal Facebook page. A Facebook friend who I wasn't incredibly close with but had always liked and respected commented on my article. She told me that she binge eating disorder was not a real illness. It was a lack of willpower, making bad choices, and shouldn't be considered a disorder or treated with medication, which, according to her, will control your life. She helpfully added that I should try mindfulness.

Reacting to Those Who Don't Think Binge Eating Disorder is a Real Illness

When I was so casually informed that something I've struggled with for years, binge eating disorder, wasn't a real illness, my first thoughts all came out in expletives. I wanted to demand if she was serious, I wanted to demand to know if she was really telling someone with binge eating disorder that it wasn't a real illness, I wanted to tell her to go take herself somewhere unpleasant.

Being that my binge eating disorder (which is real) is also comorbid with bipolar disorder, and I am currently going through a really stressful period in my life, I knew that it wasn't worth it. I am not here to educate people on how binge eating disorder is a real illness. My personal Facebook is not for my experiences to become a teachable moments. Most of all, I don't need to listen to people who are going to invalidate my mental illness and inform me that I just need to be "mindful" instead of dealing with my binge eating disorder, which is still a real illness.

Trust Me, Binge Eating Disorder is a Real Illness

Say it with me now, kids: binge eating disorder is a real illness. I've lived through years of dieting, shame, guilt, feeling out of control, trying everything I could think of to maintain my weight and feel stable, and nothing worked. If this problem was so easily rectified, then why couldn't I do it? As for self control and willpower, I went on starvation diets. Don't insinuate that I don't have either of those qualities.

In the end, I'm not lying. I'm not making this up. I'm not embellishing my experiences with illness and binge eating disorder. I'm not playing for sympathy or trying to excuse my actions. I have a problem. It's called binge eating disorder and it's a real illness.

Find Star on Twitter, Google+, and on her personal blog.

APA Reference
LaBranche, S. (2015, June 25). Binge Eating Disorder is a Real Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Star LaBranche

September, 24 2022 at 2:06 pm

I am 62, and I've struggled BED all my life. I was an overweight child & started my Bilimia at 21 after a girlfriend told me how to do it so I could control my weight. For years & years, I thought it was my lack of willpower. Binging, Purging!! I still to this day crave food so much.
I've been through suicide attempts, psychiatric, psychologists, and dietitians.
I've always known it is a chemical in my brain but have never found the correct help for my DISORDER.
all I need is an appetite suppressant like Phentermine to control my hunger and I could have a normal life but because I'm not overweight I can't find a Dr to prescribe it for me. can you advise me where to go ??

October, 5 2022 at 10:43 am

Hi Eleni, I didn't originally write this blog post, but I'm currently the author of the blog and I want to say I empathize with what you've been through. It's so difficult to tell the truth about eating disorders, so thank you for sharing your personal story. With all you have gone through, it is clear to me how strong you are today.
I don't have any experience with Phentermine, so I cannot advise you on where to go for that. I hope you will continue to read the blog as a reminder to yourself that you are not alone. Everyone's recovery journey is different, but I believe it helps to remind yourself that you are not alone and that you are so much more than your eating habits. Your eating disorder is not who you are, even though it feels that way much of the time.
Take good care and I'd love to hear from you more in the future.

June, 30 2015 at 6:04 pm

My Mother constantly made fun of my weight. Was ashamed of me and many times offered to give me a hundred dollars if I would lose weight. I am bi-oolar and I think comes with it sometimes. I know I can only deal with it at certain times, normally it is highly triggered by stress and anxiety which I have a lot of.

June, 27 2015 at 2:39 am

Eating too much is not unusual just think of Thanksgiving, when you stuff yourself to the gills. But there’s a big difference between occasional overeating and the medical condition known as binge eating disorder (BED).Binge eating is about feeling depressed, guilty, and out of control. It's not about celebrating that’s just one of the common myths about this disorder.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Star LaBranche
June, 27 2015 at 5:34 am

You're absolutely right. Lots of people seem to think that if they overate once they know what someone with BED feels like. Which isn't even close.

June, 25 2015 at 4:06 pm

Thank you for this. I've been diagnosed with BED recently and I'm struggling with it. I've spent so long believing the lie that this is just a willpower issue, that my problem is the result of me being weak. Now I'm seeing that thinking as a big contributor to my disorder. These words were exactly what I needed to hear today.
I suffer from depression also and have reached a point in my life where I'm very open about my struggle. I'm hoping one day to be as open about my BED, but right now I can't bring myself to tell others.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Star LaBranche
June, 25 2015 at 10:58 pm

I'm glad you found it helpful. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves exactly what we're dealing with here and it's not easy. Best of luck to you in your treatment plan.

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