I’m Not An Addict (Maybe That’s A Lie)

If anything, BED has taught me about life through the eyes of an addict. About the types of physical and emotional pain they suffer through in order to break the addition and make it through to the other side squeaky clean.  The torture however, isn’t at the end of the road when it comes time to squash the addiction; no no no, it is everyday, and what seems like every moment.

Drug addiction

According to an article titled “Addictions in Society” regarding the 7 hardest addictions to quit [10], heroin came in at 4. Potato chips numero dos. This was their idea of a funny ha-ha, but in all seriousness fatty foods ranked number 2 on the list. Some may wonder how or why foods are  more difficult to kick over cocaine, cigarettes, and alcohol. Let’s look at the life span of addiction. Addictions can be seen as “the process by which drug-taking behavior, in certain individuals, evolves into compulsive patterns of drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior that take place at the expense of most other activities and (2), the inability to cease drug-taking; the problem of relapse”. The brain pattern of addiction is based on a memory reward system [10]. According to research “repeatedly taking drugs can change the brain cells and make the memory of the pleasurable effects very strong.” [11] They claim that the “pleasurable memory” has a lasting effect allowing relapsing to always be an option. Plain and simple, the solid memory of dopamine-induced utopia is enough to keep you going back for more.

The problem with the binge eater’s drug is it is necessary. It is legal, offered, and unavoidable. It is probable that this makes the addiction so difficult to recover from. Let’s pretend cocaine is a socially acceptable drug regardless of the known addictive qualities, the damages it causes to our bodies, and the risk of death. I’m sure if we had plates of cocaine passed around to us at every dinner party we attended instead of plates of pie, we would probably indulge in the feast. The thing here is, to us, the offering of food is the same anxiety-induced stress that a “drug” addict would experience upon being offered.

See the point is not the occasional forbidden item or overeating here and there, it’s the very bad relationship we have with food and triggers that set off our addiction. This simply relates to trigger foods. Triggering is a HUGE part of addiction. Treatment programs relocate addicts to avoid places where last consumption took place.  [11] They remove them purposely for the sake of not being triggered, but that is impossible, as we know it, for BED. Take away food and you take away life.

While it is the most difficult addition to break (next to love apparently) it needs to be done. My suggestions are to keep busy. Work out to keep physical hunger pains at bay, meditate to clear your mind of stress, get up and out to a place far from food, to the beach, woods, or water it doesn’t matter. Try to remember least of all recovery can only happen one day at time.

“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.”William S. Burroughs

[10] Peele, Ph.D., J.D, Stanton. “The 7 Hardest Addictions to Quit – Love Is the Worst!”Http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addiction-in-society/200812/the-7-hardest-addictions-quit-love-is-the-worst. Psychology Today, 15 July 2008. Web.

[11] “New Releases.” Drug Addiction and the Brain: Effects of Dopamine on Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2013.

[12] “Addiction and Cue-Triggered Decision Process.” Stanford University, July 2004. Web.

Type III Diabetes: The Binge Eater’s Diabetes

The real physical tragedies we endure from BED are mistakenly not the extra pounds we tote around with. The true physical damages lay in a less visible area, inside our bodies. Our body is actually an extremely delicate system that needs a very specific recipe of nutrients, minerals and water in order to function properly. Also necessary for maintaining an efficiently running body is the inclusion of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. “Binge eaters have been known to habitually eat one type of food more often than other types, depending on personal preference. Binge eaters tend to choose unhealthy, fatty, sugary or processed products”. [7] Not only are we ingesting all the wrong types of foods, we are screwing with the proper flow of important components causing our bodies to become disease stricken. Whether we are obtaining too much or too little of all the right things, bottom line is we are messing with the harmony of our system causing ourselves to become sicker than just is the head.

In addition to the well-known outcome of becoming obese, research suggests that BED could cause some of the following complications: [8]

  • Subcutaneous abdomen injectionType 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease and strokes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep)
  • Osteoarthritis (a disease where the joints wear down, causing stiffness and pain)
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Irregular periods and infertility in women
  • Pregnancy problems, such as high blood sugar during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and increased risk for cesarean delivery (C-section)

The first disease on this list (and most commonly acquired from BED) is type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is when “the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy”. [8] Acquiring type II diabetes from weight gain is a misconception. Actually, those at a normal weight with type II diabetes are twice as likely to die from it compared to their overweight counterparts.[9] It is genetics and lifestyle attributions that contribute to this disease.  “Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes” [8]. I particularly don’t like sugary drinks. What I do like is cupcakes, ice cream, cookies and pretty much any other type of sweet treat. Since I don’t like sugary drinks though does that mean I am safe? I wouldn’t go that far. Using common sense the difference between sugary drinks and non-sugary drinks is, drumroll please, SUAGR. And sweets are, well, sweet because of sugar. I think it would be safe to assume that any sugary item in excess is a huge contributor to of type II diabetes.

The increased risk of diabetes as a cause of  sugar consumption, has definitely crossed my mind, and with utter disgust. I’ve always thought what could be more embarrassing than getting diabetes because I had one too many cupcakes in life?  In my eyes there should be a third type of diabetes, “Type III Diabetes: the Binge Eaters’ Diabetes”.  The one you get from living a super unhealthy, binge crazed lifestyle. What could be more appalling than facing friends and family, being if anything mildly overweight (like a pound our two), to explain I have type II diabetes? It would be considered the equivalency of a cigarette smoker getting lung cancer, or an alcoholic having liver damage. While their vices cause (a good percentage of the time) irreplaceable damage, so could ours.

Motivationally speaking, being aware of the complications that BED causes inside and out, it would be in our best interest to try harder than we already do to put a stop to it. It is extremely frightening to think that we spend time, energy, money, sweat and tears on causing these damages to our bodies. Is there anything uglier than purposely wreaking havoc on our, very beautifully created, biological system? Probably not.

“What’s the whole point of being pretty on the outside when you’re so ugly on the inside?”
Jess C. Scott, I’m Pretty

[7] “Binge Eating Disorder.” WIN –. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

[8] “Diabetes Basics.” Diabetes Myths. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2013.

[9] “Normal-Weight People With Type 2 Diabetes Have Higher Death Risk: Study.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 07 Aug. 2012. Web. 31 May 2013.