Eating disorders: another addiction that affects your health insurance

Earlier this month I wrote about addiction and how to get help. As Charlie Sheen (a media favorite addict) is still making the rounds trying to capitalize on his media firestorm surrounding his odd behavior. While his addictions may also spread out into attention (yes, people can be addicted to attention), it made me think of other types of addiction that do not receive as much attention as others, but are equally harmful.

Disney darling Demi Lovato ditched out on her musical tour with the Jonas Brothers to finish a rehab stint for emotional issues, including speculating eating disorder. Celebrities are under the constant scrutiny of the press about their weight, whether they are too thin or too have or if they have constant weight changes. The pressure for physical perfection is mounting. And non-celebrities face their own worst critics: themselves, as they hold themselves to impossible standards.

Eating disorders are a really touchy subject because every woman has been uncomfortable with her body and has tried to alter it in some way or another. Most altering (healthy exercise and diet) is OK, but when it becomes obsessive and unhealthy for your body is when it creeps into an eating disorder.

When you first hear about eating disorders most people think about anorexia and bulimia. Both of these eating disorders reek havoc on your body. Denying yourself food denies it of the nutrients it needs to survive. But did you know having an eating disorder can affect your ability of getting affordable health insurance plans? If you are trying to get a health insurance plan, your previous eating disorder could affect you as it can be considered a pre-existing condition. And rarely do health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions.

But there is another kind of eating disorder surrounding food that is often forgotten. While gaunt, overly thin woman usually come to mind when thinking about eating disorders, those who overeat also have an eating disorder. It is called a binge eating disorder or BED. Glamour Magazine’s May 2011 issue states that BED is more common than bulimia and anorexia combined. Yikes.

So what’s the problem with BED? Overeating becomes a disorder when it is obsessive and it takes over the life of the individual. It is a mental disorder that affects the physical body. Many doctors are seeing patients with BED and telling them to simply lose weight to get healthier, but the fact of the matter is they need mental therapy as well.

What does BED look like? Those who compulsively eat hide food from others because they are ashamed that they over eat. The might hide food so no one sees them eating or not eat in front of others. Binge eating is like other addictions- it is a way to avoid something. It fills a void. It provides a temporary feeling of a high or a release. The food becomes a way to fill an emotional need.

But there is help. Find a therapist, check into a clinic and seek the support of your family. BED can be beat.