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When people think about eating disorders, they often imagine an emaciated girl with anorexia – or perhaps a young white girl battling the treacherous cycles of bulimia. While those ideas can sometimes be accurate, the truth is, you don’t have to be young, female, or even thin to suffer from an eating disorder. Furthermore, although it may come as a surprise, the eating disorder that most often affects both men and women in America is Binge eating disorder (BED) – and it impacts people of all ages, races, and levels of education and income.

Confused about why you haven’t noticed BED before? Similar to anorexia and bulimia, BED is a secretive shame ridden illness. Sufferers often find themselves binging in private – or somewhere besides the kitchen – where they can avoid additional embarrassment and discomfort.

What does binge eating disorder look like? There may not be any obvious physical signs or symptoms to BED, but rather numerous behavioral and emotional signs.

What can be done to overcome this serious eating disorder? As explained on Huffpost Live by Jennie Kramer – Founder & Executive Director of Metro Behavioral ; Co-Author of “Overcoming Binge Eating For Dummies” – one of the best things to do when experiencing a binge is to simply change the environment you are in. Your brain will make a switch as you move into a new environment or start a new activity. However, this simple distraction is only a temporary fix.

In order to heal and recover properly from binge eating disorder, you should first understand that this is a serious illness and that being kind and gentle to yourself is imperative. Once you are ready to reach out for help, there are many different ways to begin your recovery journey.

If you do not have access to seeing a physician or a specialist, or if you simply do not feel ready for such a step, overeaters anonymous can be a tremendous resource. Use this group to connect with others who are suffering a similar experience, to share your story and to be heard in a safe space, and to listen to others and provide support.

If you feel ready to go beyond the sphere of support groups, make an appointment with your primary care physician where you can discuss your eating disorder and request a referral to see a specialist. It can be extremely helpful to work with both an eating disorder specialist and a dietician.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are not always easy to work with when seeking coverage for the treatment of an eating disorder – and they can make it difficult for you to access the appropriate treatment. If you have experienced an insurance denial for the treatment of your eating disorder, please contact Kantor & Kantor, LLP for a no cost consultation.

We understand, and we can help.