Ex­am­in­ing binge eat­ing

Par­tic­i­pants in­vited to take part in self-help pro­gram

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY SPE­CIAL TO TC ME­DIA danette@nl.rogers.com

Dr. Jac­que­line Carter-Ma­jor and her team of re­searchers at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity are invit­ing peo­ple who strug­gle with binge eat­ing to take part in a new treat­ment study.

Carter-Ma­jor is a psy­chol­o­gist and as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor in Me­mo­rial’s De­part­ment of Psy­chol­ogy. The study is open to peo­ple through­out the prov­ince. It is a new self-help pro­gram so in-per­son at­ten­dance at ap­point­ments is not nec­es­sary.

Carter- Ma­jor de­scribes binge eat­ing disor­der ( BED) as a se­ri­ous and com­mon but un­der-rec­og­nized and un­der­diag­nosed men­tal health prob­lem that causes a great deal of stress, shame, guilt and re­gret.

“When peo­ple go to their doc­tor and com­plain about what might be a binge eat­ing disor­der, the doc­tor might not rec­og­nize what is go­ing on and that it’s not just over in­dul­gence or overeat­ing . . .it’s ac­tu­ally a men­tal health is­sue,” she ex­plained.

Like other eat­ing dis­or­ders and men­tal health dis­or­ders, she noted, BED re­sults from a com­bi­na­tion of ge­netic, bi­o­log­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors.

The disor­der is much more than the oc­ca­sional in­dul­gence.

“We all overeat from time to time, that’s nor­mal,” she said. “But, peo­ple who strug­gle with binge eat­ing feel that they’ve lost con­trol over their eat­ing.”

Carter- Ma­jor said many peo­ple with BED, in ad­di­tion to feel­ing out of con­trol with their eat­ing, also worry about their weight.

Pre­vi­ous re­search has found that eight per cent of adults whose weight is in the obese range have BED. How­ever, Carter- Ma­jor said, not all peo­ple with the disor­der are obese.

Based on preva­lence stud­ies in other re­gions, it’s es­ti­mated that at least 14,000 peo­ple in this prov­ince suf­fer from binge eat­ing prob­lems.

Carter-Ma­jor said there are no pub­licly funded spe­cial­ized treat­ment ser­vices for peo­ple who suf­fer from binge eat­ing.

She said the Eat­ing Disor­der Foun­da­tion of New­found­land and Labrador ( a lead­er­ship ad­vo­cacy group that pro­motes re­search and pro­vides pub­lic sup­port ser­vices and in­for­ma­tion about eat­ing dis­or­ders) does an ex­cel­lent job pro­vid­ing ser­vices to peo­ple with anorexia ner­vosa and bu­limia. How­ever, she said, the foun­da­tion does not cur­rently have the re­sources to of­fer spe­cial­ized treat­ment ser­vices for BED.

Peo­ple with BED need a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to their disor­der than those suf­fer­ing from other eat­ing dis­or­ders, she said.

Carter- Ma­jor noted while there are a lot of peo­ple in this prov­ince suf­fer­ing with BED — un­less they can af­ford to pay for pri­vate ther­apy with a psy­chol­o­gist or have ex­tended health care in­sur­ance to cover that cost — ev­i­dence has shown that self-help ap­proaches can be help­ful to peo­ple with BED.

“Peo­ple can help them­selves if they have solid ed­u­ca­tion, ad­vice and ed­u­ca­tion and strate­gies and tools to help them un­der­stand why they binge eat and to help them de­velop other ways of cop­ing with stress and other ways of com­fort­ing them­selves that don’t in­volve food,” Carter-Ma­jor said.

The NL Cen­tre for Ap­plied Health Re­search is fund­ing the study.

Re­searchers are hop­ing to re­cruit 75 men and women between the ages of 19 and 65 into the study.

For in­for­ma­tion on the study e- mail mun­stopovereat­ing@gmail.com

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Dr. Jac­que­line Carter-Ma­jor

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