Is Binge Eating Disorder Just Another Made-Up Disease?


I watched Andrew Thibault’s amazing new film on the harmful effects of stimulants with fascination and horror. This is not an easy flick to watch. For those of you who feel you are seasoned activists familiar with all the grim facts, this film may provide new, even more disturbing information. As I saw the drug Vyvanse featured as highly dangerous, I waited, hoping to see some mention of its indicated use for Binge Eating Disorder. Sure enough, one of the speakers had even self-diagnosed herself with BED, insinuating that BED was yet another pharma-created phony psych disorder. I was further dismayed when the film equated BED with being overweight.

If you never truly had BED, as I have had, then I can see why someone might jump to these conclusions. Eating disorders are rarely discussed in our movement. As a former sufferer of both BED and Anorexia Nervosa I often find myself a lone voice around these parts. Many well-educated people assume BED is nothing but gluttony. Similarly, some equate Anorexia Nervosa with either vanity or rigid perfectionism. These assumptions are either stereotypes or completely false.

Gluttony and vanity do exist, of course. However, many people truly suffer from AN and BED. Anorexia is said to be the most fatal of all “mental illnesses.” This is a grim statistic indeed. People die of starvation, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, heart attack, refeeding syndrome. Suicide is also common. I have a bit of a conundrum with putting eating disorders in the “mental illness” category, though. I see eating disorders as extremely serious conditions, but I do not see them as primarily psychological, nor do I believe they should be in the category of “mental.” I see ED as a distinct and separate category of its own. Eating disorders need to be taken far more seriously than they are currently.

What is Binge Eating Disorder? To answer this, we have to ask, “What is a Binge?” Perhaps you think you binged last night when you ate at McDonald’s. While the typical McDonald’s meal may contain many calories, more than a person requires, in itself it’s not really a binge.

In my opinion the DSM needs to specify binge quantity, but it doesn’t. The DSM omits this and leaves much room for interpretation of what constitutes a binge. This means people who feel guilty about occasional overeating also qualify as binge eaters. This means that the DSM’s failure to specify quantity has successfully widened the BED umbrella, doing a terrible disservice to those of us who truly suffer from this very real disorder.

If you read the dieting literature in detail (you can find plenty online) you will see that the average adult woman might eat 2,000 calories in a day, or, perhaps, 500 calories for lunch. That 500 calories might be a sandwich and salad.

I’m going to be quite frank here. A typical binge that I used to do might have been a dozen Dunkin Donuts plus a bunch of pastries plus a large bag of M&M’s. My estimate of 9,000 calories is likely a bit conservative here. It wasn’t always sweets. Sometimes it was regular food, not even always “carbs.” Sometimes I ate non-food (this is called “pica”) and I even dived into garbage pails.

I was not capable of vomiting afterward. For me, this meant I was in a lot of pain for a long time following the binge. I was at risk for stomach rupture. I didn’t sleep all night, could barely move, and couldn’t get my clothes on the next day. I couldn’t go out, I lay in bed and felt sick until late afternoon. Sometimes I suffered from gas and belching for hours. When bingeing reoccurred frequently I was out of commission for a week or more.

Many who suffer from binge eating try therapy, with varying results from fair to poor. Therapists have told me of their great success rates but I have yet to hear this from patients themselves. The usual first order of treatment is the “poor coping” approach. This method places primary blame on the patient, focusing on her supposedly incorrect ways of dealing with life, and replacing these with the therapist’s ways, which may, or may not, be any better. The reason why the therapy often fails is that the assumption that binge eating is the result of bad coping is often false, and usually the approach, though interesting at first, isn’t hitting the mark.

The next step might be the chemical approach. Hopefully, by now, the therapist might ask what the patient eats, but you’d be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. I’m surprised at how many therapists don’t even ask what a patient binges on, nor even ask what constitutes a patient-defined binge. Sufferers have reported rude or sarcastic responses to their reports, and many are left feeling shamed or even afraid of bringing it up again.

What causes binge eating? Many say that restrictive dieting or some variant of this precedes the onset of binge eating. I believe this to be true. Even those who have binged since early childhood have reported some form of childhood malnutrition prior to binge eating. This can even happen involuntarily due to physical illness. Many were so young they cannot recall.

After a period of restrictive eating or starvation, the body has very strong cravings. Binge eating often follows recovery from anorexia, or occurs concurrently with AN, as it did for me. We know that starvation or crash dieting leads to irregular eating or even gorging oneself. This researcher (warning, the YouTube video may be upsetting to some) found that binge eating could be induced in starving rats, and it happened more frequently if the rats were stressed out. These cravings and subsequent binges are not driven by bad coping, but by physical need in the body.

Through much self-experimentation I began to realize that the body anticipates many events and prepares for these events. The body gets tired right before bedtime, preparing itself because it knows the person is going to lie down. A person who habitually self-starves will find that her body braces itself for the next famine even if one isn’t coming. The body continues to “expect” a famine even for years after a person has been eating regularly again. This explains why many people continue to have eating irregularities for many years after recovery from anorexia.

If a person binges habitually, upon sensing certain stimuli the pancreas prepares the body with insulin, and simultaneously, the stomach prepares by getting more acidic. For a binge eater, the insulin is suddenly so high that the person is driven to eat a large quantity. I finally found a study that confirmed this.

What does this mean? This means that for many of us, the drive to binge is a physical need. Therapy blames the patient for “bad coping” when all she is doing is responding to her body’s signals. Self-blame, reinforced by therapy, increases the sufferer’s feelings of shame, self-deprecation, and failure each time she binges. She returns to the therapist and the therapist tells her she needs more therapy!

In 1982 my doctors refused to admit my eating disorder was serious. They insisted I was “faking it.” The first method I devised to get myself to stop binge eating was to get myself hospitalized. There was logic to this since I knew confinement would prevent me from bingeing, and then, my body would stop the cycle. “Hospitalization” seemed to work but there was nothing stopping me from starting up the bingeing again once I got let out. I recall asking the doctor, “Can’t you just give me diet pills for this?” During the entire 34 years of coerced psychiatric “care” and multiple diagnoses, I was never prescribed stimulants.

I begged my doctors for “medication” since I’d heard antidepressants sometimes worked. The doctors tried drugs at random and lithium, tried in 1984, actually worked for a while. A study shows that lithium does help some people, but the price of losing my kidneys to that drug was too high to pay. (Drinking gasoline might work, too!) SSRI drugs are sometimes used, and more recently, Topamax, an anticonvulsant, and since then, Naltrexone, an opiate antagonist. None of these were FDA approved for BED. Of course not, since BED wasn’t in the DSM yet, and wasn’t considered a bona fide “disease.” While many of us were suffering, it wasn’t yet profitable for Big Pharma. Not until the publishing of the DSM-V in 2013.

I have to laugh because decades ago I nearly killed myself when my doctors refused to take my struggle with binge eating seriously. I fought for my cause for decades and was ridiculed. In 2013, BED was declared real. It was bittersweet indeed.

SSRI drugs never worked for me, nor did Naltrexone. Topamax did. To this day I don’t know the mechanism, and I don’t think anyone does. Some people experience alteration in their taste sensation or unwanted weight loss from Topamax. Naltrexone only helps if you derive pleasure from binge eating. I sure did not! All of these drugs have a Black Box Warning regarding suicide, homicide, or violent behavior.

I was surprised that Vyvanse was approved for BED and Topamax was not, however, when we consider that BED was only added to the DSM in 2013, it all makes sense. In 2013, Topamax was already in generic. The move to prescribe Vyvanse for BED was solely profit-driven. While men and women both have been suffering for decades from this problem, Vyvanse is new on the market, marketed and timed perfectly for the newly canned “disorder.”

However, what is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a wildly expensive stimulant, a re-packaged version of the stuff you buy off the street known as amphetamine. It is a prescribed, controlled drug. Vyvanse is a risky drug that can cause psychosis, paranoia, and even violent behavior in people who have never before experienced such things. Vyvanse is an old diet pill dressed up fancy, packaged now for BED. Were we ED’s from the 80’s right all along when we asked our doctors for diet pills?

But wait! Does it really have to be the latest designer pill with a fancy name? Anorexics have been chugging coffee for decades and getting the same appetite-suppressing effect. Not that it’s a good idea, nor that effective. But caffeine, also an amphetamine, will do about the same thing without the prescription and, I suspect, can be just as risky.

According to Thibault’s film, both NEDA and BEDA have drug company ties. I have suspected this for a long time. (I have stated in my live discussion here at the ISEPP Conference Denver 2017 that NEDA is the NAMI of eating disorders.)

If you are suffering, you don’t have to buy pharma pills, nor get married to a doctor via prescriptions, and frankly, I wouldn’t take the risk. I know in my heart I suffered far too long with BED and AN and didn’t have to. I wish I had followed my gut instinct instead of developing a dependency on my doctors. I believe that within each of us is the answer and we only have to find that answer.

There are indeed alternatives to these risky drugs which have long been known to cause suicide, homicide, and psychosis. There are many non-drug alternatives out there. Different things work for different people. Writer Katherine Hansen’s book Brain over Binge has become wildly popular. Hansen cured her own binge eating after therapy failed her, by studying the Rational Recovery program and adopting the philosophy for binge eaters.

Therapy, especially that directed at eating disorders, can turn into a manipulative game, each trying to outsmart the other. “What did you eat today?” It turns into a cat-and-mouse game that can become fatal. That’s how it was for me toward the end, and I almost died as a result.

I was lucky to put an end to all that nonsense. I have had good results by making very simple changes, starting with becoming independent from my prior doctors and therapists, and making my life decisions entirely on my own. I was surprised at how fast I was able to resolve my eating disorder after that. I would suggest doing your own research and empowering yourself to come up with your own solutions.

One thing I discovered was that each person has to decide for herself which form of exercise is right for her body, and how much. I made my own decisions about what I needed to eat, and when. Being free of the slavery of therapy helped me take a good rational look at what was best for me.

I knew I had to regain a sense of passion in my life, passion about something besides losing weight. Where had that gone off to? What had happened to the young and talented music student who first took herself to therapy in 1981 and then never came back?

Throwing off my belief in the “bipolar” me, and my conviction in the “me” that I truly am helped me regain the passion I had before, that never should have been stolen from me in the first place. I barely even noticed that my ED had became part of the past. What a joy!

Please post here what has worked for you or what you are trying out. I would like to hear about other people’s solutions to what can be a very difficult problem.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


  1. Julie- perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the work of the late Theron Randolph, MD, a gent you may not have heard about because he was an early allergist, not a shrink of some kind.
    It was his contention, in the early 1950’s, that eating disorders came about because certain foods got the consumer buzzed when they ate them (think “psychiatric” symptoms). These foods could be identified in symptomatic individuals by water fasting them until they became symptom-free and then testing the patients’ favorite foods by reintroducing them one at a time, to see if the patients had “psychiatric” reactions to them; whereupon reactive foods could be eliminated or only consumed on a once in four day basis.
    He presented his findings on 2000 patients at an APA conference, demonstrating reactions with selected patients and received an enormous ho hum from the assembled members, although orthomolecular practitioners took up his practices in the 1970’s (thereby assuring that orthodox psychiatry would never examine his data).

  2. Julie

    Thanks for this very interesting and provocative blog on so-called eating “disorders” and the various ways the current “mental health” system “treats” them. You have covered a lot of territory and revealed some of contradictory understandings and approaches to helping people deal with these problems. It is very clear (as with all the other so-called “mental disorders”) we cannot, and should not, trust the current System to provide a clear understanding and/or safe forms of help for these problems.

    I would like to raise some comments and questions to help in the search for a greater understanding of these problems so we can get to better solutions.

    You said: “What does this mean? This means that for many of us, the drive to binge is a physical need. Therapy blames the patient for “bad coping” when all she is doing is responding to her body’s signals.”

    The above point you are making does not convince me that there is not an issue of “coping ” here. Of course no one should be “blamed” for anything related to these problems. BUT, all the physical signals you describe here, starting in the pancreas (alerting the body that a binge is imminent) may be very real, but they could have origins in a person’s thought patterns. A person may have a pattern of possibly binging at night and this may be preceded by certain thought patterns that are related to (and trigger) anxiety and/or some type of anticipation of an impending binge. The binge might provide some temporary “relief” from this anxiety, but as we know over the long run it may actually add to a person’s anxiety due to the many problems these behaviors can cause for people.

    We do know that a high percentage of people with these problems (as with most all other psych labels) have a history of some type of trauma in their lives. Trauma causes excessive levels of sustained anxiety combined with other issues of low self esteem and deep shame. This is especially true for many women who live in this society. This is related to the overwhelmingly strong tendency of men to objectify the female body (due to patriarchy) and so-called standards of “beauty” heavily imposed on young girls in our society.

    People will naturally seeks a means to resolve this problems. For some this may involved “obsessively” controlling their intake of food while seeking some order in the face of perceived AND actual chaos in their lives. This can also (for some) evolve into a desire to “disappear” (anorexia), and for others, the opposite tendency to pack on the layers of fat, where both tendencies represent, either a desire to remove any outward signs of sexual maturation and/or physical characteristics that would make them more of sexual “object” to men in this society. These patterns of coping mechanisms (and the emotions attached to them) can become deeply ingrained habits and behaviors that are difficult for people to break away from.

    These types of pressures (especially on women) in our society are huge and often manifest themselves in “unconscious” forms of thoughts and behavior for many young people. They can evolve into a set of eating patterns and behaviors that travel with that person into adulthood.

    So, of course, everything I am saying here is an indictment of the culture within our entire society, and an attempt to get at a deeper understanding of the multiple forms of unrecognized trauma that many young people endure growing up in today’s world. AND it is no accident that the U.S. contains some of the highest rates of the two extremes of anorexia and obesity in the world.

    So I am saying here that these problems are very complex. Yes, there may be some physical components that we are not yet aware of, but there is definite evidence of many psychological components that are directly connected to a very stressful and ‘sick” culture that we all forced to grow up in and endure over our lifetimes.


  3. I have a hard time, among the many fabricated “diseases” in the DSM, thinking something some doctor came up with as late as 1959, that only got into the DSM in 2013, could be very real.

    We’ve always had “binge eating disorder”, only in former times it was known as feasting. We’ve always had “anorexia nervosa”, only in former times it was known as fasting. Fasting and feasting taken to extremes can kill you.

    Obesity is now a “medical condition”. (Atypical neuroleptics are listed as one of the many contributing factors in our epidemic of obesity.) What is the cause of obesity? Over eating. Funny thing, there’s no “over eating disorder”, huh? Still, obesity is unhealthy, and it regularly kills people.

  4. What would happen if you tried to control your eating habits? Would it cause you so much anxiety that you would only be able to relieve it if you ate?

    Maybe I’m being crude (and you have also mentioned “Sufferers have reported rude or sarcastic responses to their reports, and many are left feeling shamed or even afraid of bringing it up again.“), but it sounds like a lot of theorizing for the “simple” fact that you would eat way too much, had poor control over it, didn’t like that aspect of yourself, and don’t have a concrete answer as to why it all happened.

    Therapy (especially that directed at eating disorders), can turn into a manipulative game, each trying to outsmart the other. “What did you eat today?” It turns into a cat-and-mouse game that can become fatal. That’s how it was for me toward the end, and I almost died as a result.

    I think this is the case with all therapy. “Therapy” is nonsense. Just a fanciful word for listening and talking inside a closed room. No matter how many scientistic names you give it (CBT or what have you), it is fundamentally just that.

    I was lucky to put an end to all that nonsense. I have had good results by making very simple changes, starting with becoming independent from my prior doctors and therapists, and making my life decisions entirely on my own. I was surprised at how fast I was able to resolve my eating disorder after that. I would suggest doing your own research and empowering yourself to come up with your own solutions.

    Absolutely agree with this. You must break free of the mercy and charity of these people and their poisonous system, which will infantilise you and stultify your potential, all with good intentions.

    Being free of the slavery of therapy helped me take a good rational look at what was best for me.


    I knew I had to regain a sense of passion in my life, passion about something besides losing weight. Where had that gone off to? What had happened to the young and talented music student who first took herself to therapy in 1981 and then never came back?

    Yup. I think a lot of us look back to those times. When the whole world was still in front of you, and your life was not tainted by psychiatry.

  5. I had an eating disorder long ago. It started out with my sister always worrying about her weight, so I started weighing myself. Maybe I wanted to be in solidarity with her. But I also had a lot of feelings of lack of self-worth. I was a hideaway binge eater. I remember that I would hardly eat anything for three days, then by the fourth day I’d eat a tremendous amount for my body weight and spend hours on the couch, my skin hot to the touch and feeling very sensitive and raw. I hid like this for a terribly long time. I went to an OA group one time, but couldn’t stay there. I felt uncomfortable. I was of normal weight. I went to therapy for awhile, but the woman had a hard time believing me.

    What stopped it was one day shortly after I was married. There was a turkey dinner, and I was eating the grease from the turkey and consuming a lot of food. I went upstairs to throw up (I didn’t usually do this) and heard a voice tell me that if I continued to do this, I would die. That voice made me so scared that I quit. However, I didn’t quit weighing myself. It wasn’t until I was hospitalized that I realized the uselessness of weighing. That was entirely freeing. I haven’t weighed myself since – almost 6 years ago. Yet my weight remains pretty much the same. I can tell by the jeans I wear. I don’t follow any diet.

    I think there can be a lack of self-worth in ourselves as people. I used to hear my family talk about so-and-so and what people looked like. It seemed that there was a great deal of interest in how someone looked and not in what they did. I internalized that. I put all my worth on a scale, and if the scale didn’t say a particular number, I was very depressed, many times prompting binges. It was all or nothing.

    I haven’t thought about this for years and at that time took no drugs for it. Personally, I think it’s best to go to someone to find out the source of the problem. I didn’t realize I had lots of rage and covered it up by eating, sedating myself, so that I wouldn’t have to confront my feelings. Feelings weren’t something that I could talk about with my family. Drugs, in my opinion, would have made me numb, but wouldn’t have solved the problem.

    A very good article, Julie, and I would hope that more people would be aware that, although a person is of normal weight, they could very well be a binge eater.

  6. Thank you for writing this Julie. My own feeling is that just like ~~Mental Illness~~ is made up, so too are ~~Eating Disorders~~. There is no illness, or disorder.

    Now, we know that there are many people eating in very dangerous and destructive ways. And this seems to be most with young women, and it seems related to the unrealistic ideals which the fashion and entertainment industry holds up. And then, the images of young women are used throughout our society to advertise most everything. This is done so much so, that the young women themselves are made into a market commodity.

    So while I say no disease, no illness, no disorder, my heart goes out to anyone who is eating in a harmful or destructive way.

    The world is unfair and unjust. But I also think that some sort of self exploration groups or discussion groups would be the best way to deal with it. The young women are not at fault. But if they don’t change their eating practices, they are likely to die. And you won’t hear me endorse anything which could be turned against the sufferers very often.

    As far as some kind of therapy, I don’t know. Usually they say that therapy works only when the therapist is more adventurous than the client, and this is not often.

    Listened to these two on the radio, this Lisa Himmel was really eating in a dangerous way, likely to have ended up in a nursing home. But her parents were the restaurant critics for the newspaper.

  7. Hi Julie,
    I’m deeply sorry for all you had to go thru and all the hacks who made things so much worse for you. I’m glad you found a way to take your life back.

    If there’s something ‘nice’ about my wife’s d.i.d., it is that it is helps me chop the various issues we’ve had to deal with up into their respective ‘parts.’

    My wife’s host is the one who suffers most from ED issues. For her there were a couple of issues going on. 1) It was a matter of control: she couldn’t control the trauma or current events, but she could control her weight. 2) It was a matter of HATING every imperfection with her body…and as we both have hit our 50’s that has only increased. And 3) it was a matter that she literally does NOT feel hunger. What so many don’t understand is that when people begin dissociating they only can access part of their mental functions. My wife’s host simply doesn’t feel hunger pangs.

    However, as the other 7 girls joined us on the outside, and as they began to heal and mature, they acted as a counter measure to the host’s imbalances. The little girls are DEEPLY connected to the body and will nearly cry if they feel hungry…and so as they have all become more connected, my wife’s host can no longer simply ignore being hungry. And some of the girls have a GREAT self body image. One of my ‘girlfriends’ who views herself as a Millenial told me one time, “I look damn good for 50!” And she does, indeed, and so as she and my wife’s host become better connected, all the negative self talk the host tells herself is being counterbalanced by some of the other girls’ great self image. And the same goes for the control issue. As I have helped each girl heal and empowered them to spread their wings and grab life for all they can, they no longer are overwhelmed by the feeling of no control from the trauma. They’ve moved on from their trauma paradigm in many ways.

    edit: oh, and I guess I should add that I have taught all the girls to work together when it comes to eating and weight. The little girls love to eat and last winter they gained nearly 15 pounds which about sent my wife’s host into a tailspin, but I help them work together so they are respectful of the host’s desire to maintain her weight. I find them food they can enjoy but which is low-cal and low-fat, and so they all work to maintain a weight that is more than the host would desire and yet is a weight that she can tolerate, and when it gets above that limit then all the girls will join together to get it back into the range to which they have all agreed.

    Take care,

  8. Julie, thank your for posting your article and for replying to me. Actually after I submitted my reply I thought about editing it, while there was still time. But it is actually better that my original submission is up, because I want now to back pedal and alter some of what I have said.

    I might sound like I am endorsing psychotherapy or recovery groups. That was not really my intent.

    Also, I would never tell anyone that they ‘need therapy’, doing that is totally unacceptable. I hope it didn’t come across as my meaning that. I did not.

    So I say there is no such thing as ~eating disorders~. But having said that there are people who are eating in destructive ways. And I guess there are acute versions of this, and there are also chronic versions of this. Much of the population, including myself, would be in this second category.

    So though I am opposed to psychotherapy and the concept of recovery, if someone is doing binge eating or something else highly destructive, and they say they want psychotherapy or recovery, then I am not going to block their way. This was all I meant.

    But what do I really thing would be best? Well to me it seems like a coming of age issue, and the vast majority of this applying to young women.

    So then first of all, I would say that the behavioral therapies are worthless and just self torture.

    Second, this is a book which I have not read, but it has long seemed like it is one intended to get at the coming of age issues for young women, and especially based on the insight that the issues are not with these women themselves, but rather are about the hypocrisy of the world they live in.,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

    And so what drives these body image issues? As I know it is the fashion and entertainment industries, and the unrealistic ideals they promote. It is also just that images of young women are used to advertise most everything. And then some would say that it is also just the way men think about women.

    Now, of that above list, it is unlikely that anyone is going to be able to change much of it.

    But I want to stand on what I have previously laid out, that the alternative to the self denigration and lies of psychotherapy and recovery is political consciousness raising and political activism.

    And also, I have years ago talked about this with others. As I see it, most every society has always used sexualized images of young women in a symbolic way. And really when you get to primitive societies it is not really images, it is the young women themselves.

    The way it is for us is the product of Capitalism. And as Deleuze and Guattari tell us, Capitalism works by overcoding, and by the creation of images. So I would say that the pagan religious sexualization is being appropriated and turned into something quite different.

    So a pagan society would celebrate sexual desire. And the standards for female beauty in such a face two face context would be much broader than the standards would be the creation of images in our Capitalist society. The way it is in our society actually creates sexual frustration.

    So we have to look to the young women themselves who are engaging in destructive patterns of eating. Where do they think attention should be focused? Where is the bogeyman which is causing all of this?

    Say for example, an adolescent girl is expected to come of age in a social box which is just too small because it is filled with deep contradictions and heavy doses of hypocrisy. So it turns into an unworkable situation, and such destructive eating patterns ensue.

    As I see it, that is what this book is about, the deep contradictions and hypocrisy:,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

    The remedy would then be to let her work with others, not therapy or recovery, but shoulder to shoulder with others who are taking political action, striking back at the bogey man.

    So we have a Capitalist society which has the fashion and entertainment industries, and advertising, and then just the ways men are taught to view women. And then as a product of this you have the idea created that sex is available for a man only if he has lots and lots of money, and for a woman only if she meets some very unrealistic ideals.

    But in fact this last premise is not really true. People with lots and lots of money are more often than not very guarded and cautious people. There is more sex for those at the lower levels of our socioeconomic ladder, more in bohemian enclaves, and in outcast enclaves. Sex is revolutionary when it attacks societal standards and expectations. So the Capitalist representation is not real sex. But it is also not really factual either.

    So then, those wishing to fight back against these forces in our society, they could first of all show women doing things which are not based on image or sex appeal, all sorts of things, intellectual things, artistic things, all manner things. And these should not have to be moralistic, puritanical. And then also, they could fight back against this linking of sex to images and unrealistic standards and to great wealth, via real sex.

    I’ve always been impressed with and entertained by:

    So in my view, as with everything else, I believe that once one learns that they are needed in the trenches of political activism, instead of in their therapist’s office, that then their supposed ~illnesses~, ~disorders~, and ~addictions~ would evaporate.

  9. Julie, thank you for posting your article and for replying to me. I do not go along with the idea of ~eating disorders~.

    But when you find people who are eating in self-destructive and dangerous ways, isn’t it usually true that it is young women?

    And is it true that it is more common amongst the white, well-off suburbanites, instead of with low income inner city ethnics? I would suspect yes, but I really do not know.

    To me it seems like a coming of age issue, living in a very small box of contradictions and manipulations.

    And is it also true that it is highly correlated to the young woman living with her parents and being a sexual virgin?

    The mother daughter book I posted of was people living in the very prestigious Palo Alto CA, and at one of the most prestigious high schools in the country, Henry Gunn High School, and they talked about this in the interviews and in the book.

    Do you agree with me that a behavioral approach is non-sense?

    So that usually leads to the psychoanalytic view. But the alternative to this is the political consciousness and political activism approach. Does this make sense?

    Other than Capitalist objectification of women via images, and non-sensical double standards, what else do you think contributes to it?

  10. Julie, I see your point that since dangerous and unhealthy eating practices are often kept secret, it is difficult to have good statistics.

    Suppose you knew of someone and had regular contact with that person and you knew that they were doing dangerous eating. Lets say it involved ‘purging’. I see that as significant, taking it beyond just overeating or bad diet.

    What would you do? I assume that you would not send them to a psychotherapist.

    For me, I would suggest to them political consciousness raising and political activism. And for a girl this would be the Guerrilla Girls.

    This deals with women in art, but it is also about body image and roles. It is feminism, but it is not that anti-sex puritanical feminism. That was used in order to obtain the vote. But it also still exists in anti-porn crusades and in conjunction with religion.

    Gurerrilla Girls is more pro-sex feminism, drawing from Existentialism and from Marxism. They have a great deal in common with the Russian girls, Pussy Riot.

    A woman’s body image is one thing when being compared to the advertising and entertainment industries. But very different when it comes to real sex.

    As far as political consciousness raising, I mean like here in this fictionalized telling:

  11. From my admitted arm chair vantage point, it all seems like a coming of age issue.

    Lawrence Kelmenson talks about ~Bipolar Disorder~ and links it to adolescence.

    I’m seeing this is a predominantly male matter.

    So the ~Bipolar~ and ~Eating Disorders~ could be coming of age issues, mostly problems coming from being blocked from adulthood. And this blockage would be by virtue of the lies, hypocrisy, and conflicting values, and usually from having been made the family scapegoat.

    If you want to say that this dangerous eating is caused by nothing, then that does support a medical or behaviorlist model.

    I am more inclined to see it all as related to exploitation, that is, being used.

    This guy is too conservative for me, but his is an outstanding book, and you don’t need to have the latest edition. I spent lots of time reading this and it really made me think.

    He exonerates adolescents from the usual criticisms, showing how it is just because of the strange world they are forced to live in. And remember, adolescence is an invention of the industrial era. And how long it lasts depends on how well of the parents are. Adolescence turns into a bigger hell the longer it goes on.

    If you knew someone eating self-destructively, what would you do or suggest?

  12. All power to you Julie. You won.

    It is abhorrent to me, that, here in the UK, tax payers money is going to pay psychiatrists and consultant psychiatrists while they perversely drug their patients into an early death and at the same time are asking for more money. And the public – thanks to the MSM media – are largely unaware of how abusive, corrupt and corrupting all this is.

    The corrupting is now venturing into the art world. Recently I became aware of a play about a child diagnosed with ‘severe mental illness’ placed on psych drugs and who wants to come off them at age 18. The real aim of this play is to normalise the drugging of children in the minds and belief of people who are psychiatrist and psych drug naive.

    • Personally, I think there should be places in every country where all prescription drugs are legal for the residents of that place. No need to ship them outside.

      This will allow people who want to take or try whatever it is they want to whilst completely avoiding psychiatry and it will also the first step towards giving them freedom from psychiatric coercion when they want to stop taking them.

      Bad idea? I don’t think so. Perhaps the question is, “What if people take something that is damaging to them?”. Well, if they harm themselves by not gathering the required information first, the responsibility lies with them. What about harming others? Well, sufficient information must be provided regarding the adverse effects of these drugs so that they can understand how to use them or not use them.

      Since the general public might want to stay out of such a place, that’s fine. Just limit such areas to some places. These places will be places where psychiatry can be completely bypassed and must be kept out of.

  13. Hi Julie- just wondering, what’s your opinion on early childhood attachments/ bonding and “addictions” later in life? Early childhood trauma was brought up, and I personally do believe child abuse (sexual, physical, neglect, poor attachments with caregivers in infancy/ early childhood) can be a factor in addictions/ addictive behaviors later in life, and was wondering what your take on that is?

    Also I do think with binge eating specifically, it can be medical. Food allergies and intolerances, for example, can really mess you up in so many ways. Gut health was mentioned earlier, and leaky gut syndrome / lack of vitamin and mineral absorption can lead to malnutrition and make you feel hungry all the time. Also dysregulated insulin levels can do that to you. Thyroid problems, etc. You end up craving and over eating the very foods that are making you feel horrible, it’s a vicious cycle. I’ve had some weight gain myself for those very reasons, and once the medical stuff was straightened out, the weight regulated itself. I do like a product called Swedish Bitters, it helps regulate your taste buds and helps with digestion. It’s been around since the 1500s, apparently the “bitter” taste isn’t really part of the average diet anymore, and once you get accustomed to it again, sugary food are a turn off. I personally have found it does help.

  14. Julie, do you see that self destructive patterns of eating are primarily the result of living in just too small of a social space, too many contradictions, and too much hypocrisy, and not seeing anyway to do anything about it?

    From the Milan School of Family Systems Therapy:

    Shouldn’t be hard to obtain the book, as their group has been so extremely influential. They have showed how things work in families, and what it is which is so different about middle-class families.

    I’m not endorsing psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, but I do think you need to understand the insights and understanding generated. But then instead of going the route of recovery and healing, the Uncle Tom route, instead put those insights and that understanding into direct political and legal action.

  15. So do you think there should be any recommended remedy or response to destructive eating patterns?

    And I assume that you know that ours in not a society which just stands by and watches people die. If someone is incapacitating themselves, then eventually they will be loaded into an ambulance and delivered to a hospital, and there consent will not even be sought.

    And things being as they are, they stand a good chance of ending up on a psych ward, and getting drugged.

    Is this okay with you? If not, how would you like to see it changed?

    I take it that you do believe that there is such a thing as ~Eating Disorders~. But you must know that that sounds a great deal like the idea that there is such a thing as ~Mental Illness~. Do you want to alter this, or are you happy with how it is?

    In the example I showed you from a mother daughter book, this was in one of countries most prestigious residential communities, and with one of the most demanding high schools in the country, Palo Alto CA’s Henry Gunn High School. And it had recently become famous because of a string of teenage suicides, seemingly over the high level of academic pressure. And so we have this teenage girl seriously harming herself and on track to becoming the youngest person in a nursing home and being confined to a wheel chair. Do you thing some sort of research or investigation or corrective actions are warranted?

    One of the original premises of psychoanalysis, going back to Freud is that to know a person you have to have some understanding of the nature of the family relations they grew up in.

    Now, myself being against psychoanalysis, I don’t go where they take it. I see there as being a whole host of other societal issues. And this is how they see it in the Milan School too. I don’t even support psychoanalysis as it is based on confession and disclosure. Where what we need is direction in political, legal, and direct action.

    Do you see there as being anything worth looking at when people are eating in highly self destructive manners? Doesn’t it to you indicate the probability of constraints and problems which they do not know how to resolve?

  16. OKay, but when you keep saying ‘ED’ over and over it does sound like you do see it as a ‘disorder’, and that likely will be seen as something similar to ~~mental illness~~.

    So if you want nutritionists to handle it, and you want more access to these nutritionalists and them to be more trained in this, okay. But what would they do?

    So as you talk about ED, what is the cure or treatment for ED?

    My knowledge is obviously limited. But as I know what the medical community would do is just check a few things and monitor the person, but generally there is no cure of treatment, there is just psychotherapy, as they see it as a behavior issue, but also being driven by some societal issues which get to young women’s identities.

    What do you think the cure or treatment should be?

    For myself, I am rejecting the concept of ~~ED~~ and instead just talking about self-destructive eating practices. I am also rejecting psychotherapy, but seeing such self-destructive eating practices as the result of some sort or another of political oppression and abuse. And then of course the remedy is to come to understand this and then to politically organize and take political action. Guerilla Girls, radical pro-sex, pro-prostitution, pro-women in art feminists would be the first place I would suggest looking for an ongoing political movement.

    What do you think? I am trying to understand what your POV is.