Friday, 29 April 2016

Binge Eating Disorder is not Hyperphagia Nervosa

It's finally clicked! *Binge eating disorder-BED is a bulimic cycle without the vomiting. Instead there's calorie restriction/starvation with or without exercise bulimia [that's exercise to induce weight loss] in response.

This cycle seems to run over days, at least, rather than the more condensed bulimic initiation and response of bingeing [consuming a high volume of intake/calories in a very short space of time] and more or less immediate purging.

Like all hunger/eating disorders, its mainly initiated by dieting. 

I've struggled in the past to grasp exactly what BED is. Not that it wasn't explained to me, the explanations just didn't add up to much in my mind.

I thought of it as a mild version of hyperphagia nervosa, which brings me what needs continual reiteration. BED is not hyperphagia nervosa. Hyperphagia nervosa does not fit into the convention anorexia model of 'eating disorder'. It is not an ED, it's a hunger disorder.

That is extremely important in this context. Hyperphagia nervosa is not 'food addiction' it is not 'eating addiction' it is hunger function that is hyperactive, hypersensitive, achieves high momentum that's takes longer to bring to a halt. It can be a combination of some or all of these things.

It is aggressive, invasive, unneeded hunger. Sometimes accompanied by other disturbing symptoms. It feels like your (nervous) system is under pressure. Not like you're trying to get drunk with food or whatever people with BED are supposed to feel (I'm not trying to go there anymore).

The difference is that with HN its usually a more constant fight, as in moment to moment. Rather than cyclical and seemingly initiated by the attempt to lose weight via dieting, as is likely with BED. For some its a moment to moment basis. The term binge eating appears to be modelled after binge drinking and applies the same assumptions about that to food.

HN is body led, and seems to be bound up with the functioning of the hypothalamic region of the brain/endocrine system. Often its trigger seems to be related to the endocrine systems efforts in regulating human growth. 3 years old keeps coming up. So I'm wondering what chemical milestone/s happen thereabouts.

7 give or take a year either way is another one. I think its safe to say this is the lead up to puberty. The process of triggering the hormonal change/increase/surge happening around then, can disrupt hunger functioning. It seems related in some way to hyperphagia/hyperhunger from lesion to hypothalamus but without any obvious sign of such injury.

I use nervosa as altering my nervous system's tension relieved it. So my guess is that although it may caused by a wonky hypothalamus it can be amenable to alteration through the nervosa system, hence nervosa which is a reference to that system.

I realise that's a case study of one, but that's what happens when people refuse to produce anything close to objective study. You're forced on to what you have. Any one wishing to conduct a genuine study is welcome to. I'll happily cite their efforts.

From what I've gleaned over time, BED yields more readily to manipulating your response to food. Like a lot of anorexia, it doesn't necessarily have to be gotten over or gotten over fully. You can work around it, as the guy described in his video. This may lessen hyperphagia but to really take a lump out of it, you have to alter the default way your body functions. Rather than chase it after the fact.

I know slimstream researchers are trying to shove hyperhunger into their little empire, as they feel they can puppet fat people and that we all think they're the wind beneath our wings etc., Theirs and the general fixation with eating is a product of an anorexic mindset and sensibility. Those who believe weight =calories in minus calories out tend to develop this compensatory fixation with food and eating.

They lack self awareness about how glaringly clunky it is. If your idea of weight is instead rooted more around metabolic function, this symptom is not invoked by this. So it just reads like a superficial, irrelevant imposition. An unwanted one.

It's key those experiencing excessive hunger make reducing that their focus rather than food which is what others want to focus on. Especially if they're seeking to involve others. If what I'm saying makes sense to you, keep their focus on what you need.

* Not recommending this video, it just happened to trigger realisation. 


  1. I had never heard of hyperphagia nervosa before reading this blog post, but I'm so glad I got to see this. I've been in recovery for five years now, but one lingering problem I have is that I no longer feel hungry when I should. I'll definitely be looking into hunger disorders and that possible connection.

  2. That's because I coined it! I did so because I finally realised I couldn't describe what happened to me without starting from hunger, rather than eating as obviously, the eating disorders model starts from.

    I've kind of let it go and gone for hyperhunger instead, as hyperphagia-though having been used to mean hyperhunger-literally translates as excessive eating, which is an angle of little use or interest to me. I feel most if not all "eating disorders" can be understood just as well or better by starting from hunger, but that's a moot point.

    It's interesting that you feel you no longer feel hungry when you should. I'd wonder why you feel there are times when you should feel hunger and what informs that. Unless you feel or see signs of being out of sorts, it may well be based on comparison with expectation. Always something to check for.

    Remember too that if you've spent a long time wtih hyperactive/hypoactive states, you may not recognize hunger in the same way as if your experience had been of normal hunger.

    If you've spent years fighting your hunger, trying to suppress it, you can find when the excess hunger function dies down, that there is a residual dampening effect of all those years. If you think about it, in a more extreme form, that is the genesis of anorexia nervosa in those more susceptible to the suppression of hunger than you or I seem to be (thank goodness!)