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 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

I have a close friend who is battling binge eating disorder and food addiction and I don't know much about it. I'm not sure what to do. I've not really experienced this disorder/addiction myself so I am having trouble thinking of constructive advice to give.

I wanted to reach out to this community and see if anyone felt like sharing any experience or stories, personal or otherwise, that might be helpful. Are there any good websites that you could provide a link for, something that might be a good resource for this kind of thing? I honestly am not sure how to help my friend and this site has always been helpful in rallying together our collective experience to help each other out.

I've tried offering a few suggestions but wanted to ask you all as well. Any info would be greatly appreciated, and thank you all so much in advance.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 6:48 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Honestly? Advice won't help. If it is a physiological condition such that the body is registering hunger despite being full, you'll need some kind of hormonal corrective. But as a general thing, in my experience at least, eating disorders have little to do with food and much more to do with (depending on the disorder and on the person) issues of control or adequacy, or with attempting to fill voids from other aspects of life: loneliness, boredom, etc. In such cases advice won't cut it. If it's the former sort of case, the person will need to be ready to seek help and to change; if the latter, the person will have to perceive changes in life such that the consumption no longer feels necessary. Sorry. Probably not very helpful.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:20 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Is this a male or female friend?

Many experts are of the opinion that in female cases, especially YOUNG cases, there's invariably a dominating mother in the household. Sometimes the mother even lives THROUGH the disorder, and unconsciously keeps it fuelled, almost like a sort of Munchausen's by Proxy scenario, but not deliberate (consiously at any rate). In those cases the girl needs separated from the mum, or some modifying factor to keep this devouring mum at bay. Often the fathers are quite uncommitted and go along with the whole thing. Nobody dares to wade in forcefully and shout 'Clear out: Talitha Cumi... Give her something to eat, and see she eats it!' and put the 'mother' in her place. And in many cases, like Norman Bates (!) the negative 'mother' Medusa outlives her presence and even life, in the psyche of the victim.

With males it's more convoluted, and every case is different. It sometimes looks like a primitive urge to eat in times of trouble, as in caveman days and famine or flight.

It's easy to say, as they always do, that it's all down to self-esteem and control issues. That's true, but it's like saying 'this man's tendency to be a serial killer is due to the availability of kitchen knives'. That's true too, but it doesn't get to the heart of it. So the fashion industry gets the blame.

It's worth mentioning in passing that the term 'eating disorder' is sometimes used as an excuse for old-fashioned gluttony and guilt.

If it's a female, and there IS or WAS a domineering mother, even if she's not in the picture now, then your role, if you take it on, and it's a responsibility, is to represent a sort of active and POSITIVE rather than passive male type. Do try joking her out of it in a MALE humour way, as opposed to just the 'talk it over sensitive mom' way. But the danger is that then you could take on a 'father' transference and she'd become dependent on you. Not great in a relationship.

But get 'professional' help if yer friend hasn't already.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:33 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

I can eat every hour of my waking hours easily with no problems. I am grateful to be one of the lucky ones in that department. Never was fat or overweight. I feel sorry for those who eat nothing and are overweight.

 Posted:   Dec 12, 2013 - 7:37 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)


There's a sort of older-fashioned claim that some experts have made, which does hold some water in some cases with the female type of anorexia. A young girl may feel so fearful of adulthood and adolescence (thanks to the over-protective and domineering mother, and no positive dad to balance it out) that she, on some level, wants to regress BEFORE puberty. When girls starve themselves enough, secondary sexual characteristics disappear, as do curves (associated with adulthood) and menstruation stops in starvation. Return to the safe womb, since mummy has told you the world is dangerous.

Who knows how long that desire could last into adulthood?

Also, political correctness will rear it's head at some point. If the positive masculine (no, not the sensitive masculine who's in touch with his soft side, the POSITIVE MASCULINE) is needed in the mix, then some ideologies will see this as sexist, which it most certainly is not.

It's also worth remembering that men too can have devouring inner mother complexes, and with no proper father-role-model, they can stay in that trap of control, long after mother is elsewhere or no more. Again, male initiations aren't politically kosher nowadays, and no wonder with so much macho nonsense everywhere in the media. But that's what guys need, a Round Table they can be knights at. It just isn't there in modern living.

Attack away, people ...

 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 5:08 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Was hoping for more response on this, but thanks to those who did contribute, I appreciate your time and thoughts.

 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 8:57 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I don't know a thing about eating disorders or know anyone that has such an issue. Guess your best bet is to "Google" it.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2013 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

If these eating disorders had been about anorexia and purging (vomiting after eating), I would have advised you to get this person to a counselor who specializes in such disorders. These are very risky behaviors that friends cannot cure. Professional help is needed. When I was working in school counseling, I always referred these troubled teens to specialists in this area.

Eating disorders are often based upon the need to find control in one’s life. Weight is something these people feel they can control, and even if they look emaciated to us, they see themselves in a mirror as possibly attractive. Another aspect of these diseases can be found in the media or advertisements.
For females, uber-thin may be perceived as gorgeous. Certainly models perpetuated this absurd
notion of beauty. I do feel that in the past few years, ultra skinny models are used less frequently.

You mention food addiction and binging. Usually people who binge almost always follow binge eating with purging. That is a true disorder and that person needs specialized help. I’m not really sure about food addiction.

It is great that you want to help your friend. He/she needs help. I’m just hoping you can convince your friend to see a doctor and a counselor. If he/she refuses, you may have to incur this person’s anger and contact his/her parents. I’d rather anytime take the burden of a friend’s anger than continue to see a friend harm one’s self. Just know when to call in outside, specialized help. Good luck.

 Posted:   Dec 15, 2013 - 4:31 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Joan, thank you very much for your thoughts. I very much appreciate it!

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2013 - 6:23 AM   
 By:   mstrox   (Member)

I am in recovery from disordered eating. The person suffering from a disorder needs treatment, they need support from others. If they have certain triggers, it's helpful to avoid such things. Binge eating and food addiction, I am somewhat less familiar with. I would imagine the process is the same: encourage them to seek help, help them get that help if they are willing, be supportive, be patient. If they aren't ready to accept help, there is not an awful lot you can do - help don't help if you don't want it - and much of the time, not even if you do want it.

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2013 - 6:32 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

mstrox -- thanks for sharing. Grateful for your input.

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