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Binge Eating Disorder Deserving of More Recognition and Treatment Options

January 26, 2012

(Toronto, ON - January 24, 2012) Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 5-11, 2012 and Bellwood Health Services is using this opportunity to raise awareness of Binge Eating Disorder - the most common but least talked about type of eating disorders.

When asked about eating disorders, most people immediately think of Anorexia Nervosa. Although anorexia is a very serious and sometimes life threatening eating disorder, years of media fixation on celebrities struggling with this issue has perpetuated an illusion that it is also the most common of all eating disorders. In fact, it is actually the least prevalent of the eating disorders.

Research has found that binge eating disorder affects 3.5% of women and 2% of men, with an average lifetime duration of 8.3 years (Hudson, Hiripi, Pope & Kessler, 2007). This means that binge eating disorder affects more people than anorexia and bulimia combined, and has a longer lifetime prevalence than both disorders.

Binge eating disorder is characterized by episodes of extreme over-eating in which individuals experience a sense of lack of control over their food intake. The binge eating episode is usually secretive, and food is eaten rapidly and in amounts significantly larger than what most people would consume in a similar time frame. Unlike bulimia, binge eating disorder is not characterized by attempts to compensate for food intake through purging or over-exercising. Binge eating disorder affects men and women fairly evenly, and the affected age group is broader than other forms of eating disorders.

According to Lauren Goldhamer, Eating Disorders Therapist at Bellwood Health Services, there are many misconceptions about binge eating that have helped keep it in the shadows. "Most people feel shame, and hide the problem from others. In fact, in front of others, they may eat normally or even appear to be dieting to conceal the problem. You usually cannot determine if someone is struggling with binge eating based on their body size. For these reasons, the problem can be 'invisible'".

Bellwood Health Services is one of the few residential eating disorders treatment programs in Canada that treats binge eating disorder. "The lack of quality or available treatment options are often reasons why there are not more people seeking help for the problem," states Ms. Goldhamer. Other reasons why few people tend to seek treatment include:

* Feelings of shame and guilt that could result from others learning about the problem
* A belief that it is not a serious issue and that they do not deserve help the way those with anorexia or bulimia do
* Difficulty in discussing their concerns with their family physician

In order to help individuals and professionals understand more about eating disorders and available resources, Bellwood will be hosting two community education evenings.

The Mysterious World of Eating Disorders.
Dates and Locations:

Thursday, February 2
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Summit Golf & Country Club
11901 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill

Tuesday, February 7
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle

Both events are open to the public and there is no admission fee.
Visit for more details. Call 416-495-0926 to register.

About Bellwood Health Services

Bellwood is celebrating its 28th year of serving Canadians with quality addiction treatment. The late Dr. Gordon Bell and his daughter Linda Bell, opened the Bellwood doors in Toronto in 1984, and have been working with individuals and families who are experiencing problems with eating disorders, alcohol and drugs, sex, gambling, and PTSD/ trauma and addiction. For more information on any of Bellwood's treatment programs, visit

To book an interview with a Bellwood spokesperson please contact:
Jennifer Lezcano at Bellwood Health Services
416-495-0926 or 1-800-387-6198, ext. 302

For more information contact:
Jennifer Lezcano
Marketing Coordinator
Bellwood Health Services
Phone: 416-495-0926

Click here to view our Sources Listing:

Bellwood Health Services Inc.


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