Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder, but it isn’t treated like it
Based on media representation, awareness efforts, and our daily conversations, it would be easy to assume anorexia or bulimia would be the most common eating disorder. We reference them when we see celebrities that appear “too thin.” TV shows and movies use anorexia or bulimia as a common trope. Most importantly, we make an effort to help when we recognize someone lives with one of these disorders.
However, bulimia and anorexia are not, in fact, the most common eating disorder. According to several studies, binge eating disorder far outpaces any other eating disorder as one of the most significant health issues facing America and the world.
The difference is, we as a society simply don’t think or talk about binge eating disorder. When celebrities gain weight, the tabloids proclaim they have gotten “fat”. No one suggests they may be struggling with binge eating disorder. We are more likely to assume someone is depressed when they pack on the pounds, rather than worry about binge eating.
And, as Bustle writer Dana Schwartz shows, this casual dismissiveness or ignorance or binge eating disorder has huge implications for how society responds to a person living with the eating disorder.
In a recent article, Schwartz explains the huge difference in reaction and perception when she dealt with anorexia, and later, binge eating disorder. Or, as she puts it simply, “When I fought anorexia, I got help. When I fought binge eating disorder, I just got embarrassed.”