Thursday, 11 February 2010

A binge about BED

Just seen this post, the discussion is interesting and shows yet again how proprietorial people feel about what is effectively a squatter in your house(your mind/body). It's interesting that this remark irked several commenters.

But binge eating is also a normal behavior

Too right, it is. Say it again, also, not only. The trouble with calling it 'binge' eating disorder, is it reflects the overall anxiety about over consumption, rather than being an adequate descriptor. It misses out what is almost inevitably the other side of the binge and that is the restriction, or even the mere threat of it.

The thing that joins virtually all forms of eating disorders/ disordered eating together is attempts to regulate either weight and/or eating. Though not an exclusive cause.

Eating is a vital function, we cannot do without it. That's obvious although it's a tribute to our current thinking that some people will actually argue with that.

The importance of saying that is if you wish to gain a proper understanding of any disorder of this kind, you must start from there.

It's necessary, therefore what happens in the body and in nature when something is necessary, it tends to have a lot of build in defences to ensure that it is carried out. As opposed to habits that may be important, but it a state of emergency, can be forgone.

Eating is not one of those things. Therefore the defences build in are not just at one level, they have the capacity to rise and increase to take account of the potential circumstances that can occur, such as starvation in the midst of nothing.

These has to be capable of being so powerful, as a last resort especially, that all other things pale into insignificance beside the overwhelming need to get something to eat.

When we are no longer used to this kind of lack, this kind of emergency, when we are used to if not plenty, certainly adequacy, then we may come to believe that eating signals are relatively gentile and polite.

This is an assumption too many are making, this is encouraged by the prissy attitude towards food and the elevation of latent disgust around the act of eating-that seems primal and base at times. There's a part of all of us that is sometimes disgusted that we actually have to perform the function of eating. Whether it's other people's table manners or foods that we hate, ever lurking amongst the potential for pleasure is resentment of having to do it, of feeling beholden or dependent on it. The fact that if we don't, pretty quickly, we will be ordered around by it and have to do it's bidding. Hence we seek to 'control' it, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's the crude way we often try that does us no favours.

The necessity of it means when our appetite and hunger setting rise up-when provoked by lack or the threat of it- we are very shocked to our 'civilised' core and often are hugely offended by it. We come to believe that a higher setting of hunger is somehow irrational, as we are at first overwhelmed by it and then ordered around like servant, and so it therefore qualifies as mental illness.

But if our bodies wish to evade our attempts to starve it into submission, in some cases to a point where we may damage our lives, what better way do we think our bodies can signal this? By psychic e-mail?

It's pretty clear, ramp up the signals, and eventually at some point, most people will crack, if they don't- if they are the inevitable outlier in their capacity to resist or parlay their hunger in some way- they'll almost certainly wish they could have.

The mental illness frame tends to just add fuel to the fire, and doesn't lend itself to effective way of looking at it tending to send people in the wrong direction and delaying effective remedy. Except in the case of anorexia, which is a far more acute disorder than the others. And no, that's not an insult or a downgrade, this is not something to get competitive over, consider yourself lucky that you have not succumbed to it.

I am not trying to minimize the shock and trauma of eating disorders and their effects, however, they are often caused by our own actions.

That isn't the same as saying, we asked for it, anymore than someone messing about on the piste who breaks their leg is asking for it either, however, actions taken may well have lent themselves towards having an accident.

Likewise our sometimes ignorant and reckless disregard for the sophisticated and yet hugely powerful instincts to nourish and replenish our bodies, our very lives, leads our vanity to take over thinking that we are in full control when we meddle and disrupt our eating and hunger mechanisms for the sake of 'health' or vanity.

So, bingeing can be and is normal, it is also usually the other side of restriction (or lack), it should be called restriction rebound disorder, because usually, that's what it is.

*I've edited this, because, hey; it's better

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