When Eating is Out-of-Control

Out of control eating

What is Binge Eating Disorder (BED)?  

Individuals with binge eating disorder (BED) engage in binge eating, but in contrast to people with bulimia nervosa (BN) they do not regularly use inappropriate compensatory weight control behaviors such as fasting or purging to lose weight. Binge eating, by definition, is eating that is characterized by rapid consumption of a large amount of food by social comparison and experiencing a sense of the eating being out of control.

Binge eating is often accompanied by uncomfortable fullness after eating, and eating large amounts of food when not hungry, and distress about the binge eating. There is no specific caloric amount that qualifies an eating episode as a binge. A binge may be ended by abdominal discomfort, social interruption, or running out of food.

Some who have placed strict restrictions on what and when it is OK to eat might feel like they have binged after only a small amount of food (like a cookie). Since this is not an objectively large amount of food by social comparison, it is called a subjective binge and is not part of binge eating disorder.

When the binge is over, the person often feels disgusted, guilty, and depressed about overeating.  For some individuals, BED can occur together with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, or self-injurious behavior.  The person suffering from BED often feels caught up in a vicious cycle of negative mood followed by binge eating, followed by more negative mood.  Over time, individuals with BED tend to gain weight due to overeating; therefore, BED is often, but not always, associated with overweight and obesity. Previous terms used to describe these problems included compulsive overeating, emotional eating, or food addiction.


For the rest of this article, please go to the NAMI site at:   




Tobacco Use: Putting Down the Cigarette

By Brendan McLean, NAMI Communications Manager

Studies have shown that individuals living with mental illness die 25 years earlier than the general population. Part of the reason is due to smoking related diseases. At the end of July, the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center held a webinar on the importance of quitting smoking.

“Peers Helping Peers: Ways to Quit Tobacco with Rx for Change” consisted of a panel of experts from around the country, including Ken Duckworth, M.D., medical director of NAMI, and discussed the addictive power of tobacco, ways that will help people quit smoking and the role peer counselors can play.

Individuals living with mental illness are disproportionately represented among those who smoke. Forty-four percent of people who smoke have a mental illness. However, this percentage can be much higher when compared to a specific mental illness. For example, studies have shown that between 62 and 90 percent of individuals living with schizophrenia smoke.

This high rate of smoking means that one-half of the 435,000 tobacco related deaths that occur in the U.S. each year are people who have a mental illness. NAMI Hearts & Minds was created to offer resources on quitting smoking and other healthy lifestyle choices that promote wellness in both mind and body.

So why is smoking common among people who live with mental illness? As Frank Vitale, the National Director of the Pharmacy Partnership for Tobacco Cessation, states in the webinar , smoking was often used as a reward in psychiatric hospitals. “The culture has promoted smoking in a sense,” he said. “I remember working in a psychiatric hospital and we were literally told to tell patients that if you take your medication you can smoke. Or if you go to group you can smoke.”

Helping individuals living with mental illness who smoke can produce a number of benefits. As described by Vitale in the webinar, there are six benefits.

  1. It can improve the overall quality of life.
  2. It can increase the length and number of healthy years of life.
  3. It can improve the effects of medication. Hydrocarbons, which are produced when anything is burned, cause the body to metabolize medications faster than you normally would. As a consequence, many people who smoke often need more medication than if they did not smoke. However, if the individual decides to quit, their clinician should be alerted so they can adjust the amount of medication the individual is receiving.
  4. It can decrease social isolation. Many people who don’t smoke are often hesitant to socialize with those who do.
  5. It can save money—lots of money. Cigarette packs cost nearly $8 in D.C. and upwards of $15 in Manhattan. Over the course of 50 years, if a person were to only smoke one pack of cigarettes a day, at $6 a pack, one would spend nearly $110,000.
  6. It helps promote recovery.

The problem is that there has been lack of focus on smoking cessation by mental health providers. Some providers believed that doing so caused an increased risk of relapse: symptoms would worsen or the individual would return to abusing drugs or alcohol. However, research has shown that there is no truth to either of these claims.

The truth, though, is that people want to quit. Nearly 75 percent of current smokers have said they want to quit and 65 percent have tried to quit in the last year. But sometimes you just need a little help. To learn more about the importance of quitting smoking and how peers can help, listen to a recording of the webinar online.

Thank You, Nami

This is a terrific post dealing with a major issue with those of us who struggle so hard, with mental illness. Think this through and let me know what you think. Pastor Bryan can be reached at,  flash99603@hotmail.com

“How I finally quit smoking!” A Great Blog and a Super Post.


Mental Illness Week

Mental illness is a serious medical condition that often disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Mental illness affects an estimated one in four American families and can have a profound effect on the individual, their family and the community.

Many people affected by mental illness do not know where to turn for information, support, help and hope. NAMI is a lifesaver for tens of thousands of individuals and families, virtually and in local communities across the country. Through clear information resources, free education and support group programs, advocacy initiatives, awareness events and personal connections with volunteer leaders in every state, NAMI works every day to save every life.