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Binge Eating and son

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Har1Her1

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
11
Hello,

My 19 year old son has a complex anxiety disorder. He has been heavily into fitness for years. Fitness and the gym seem to give him a sense of control. With the fitness, comes controlled eating. He usually eats a lot, but it is high protein food, lots of vegetables and so on.

Recently, he has been binge eating in a way that is really worrying. Every night for the past week, he has gone on a massive binge.

He is really unhappy and wants to stop, but I do not know how to help him.

I had a mixed eating disorder many years ago. It was a mixture of anorexia and bulimia, which often manifested as binge eating and purging. It ruined my younger life and I spent very long periods in hospital.

Now, I see my son with a similar disorder and I cannot cope with my emotions.

Can someone advise me how I can help my son and how I can control my own feelings.
 
R_Sxo

R_Sxo

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Apr 24, 2017
Messages
2,946
Location
Pyongyang, DPRK
Hey! So sorry for what you're both going through, it's awful to see your kids go through something like this, especially as you've been through a similar thing before!

I think it's very important to talk to him about it, and that binging food is not a normal and healthy thing to do. Suggest that he go and see a doctor about this, but to be honest, he has to realise what he's doing isn't right - you can't force him to go and seek help, or fix this for him. I know your heart is in the right place, but he has to see for himself that what's happening is bad for him, and the most you can do is help him make that decision without actually pulling the trigger.

Hopefully things go well, but make sure that you come across as trying to help him, not going against him x
 
P

Purpleplum

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715
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You can tell him about it, support him but it's up to him. He'll reach a point where the benefits don't exceed the negative consequences of it.
It sounds like he has exercise addiction.
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

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Apr 10, 2020
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Planet Mercury
I was just to tell him your experience. When I was struggling with mental illness my dad shared his experience with me and it made me feel worlds better. You never know he may be ready to confront whatever is making him unhappy.
 
H

Har1Her1

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
11
Thank you for the replies. They are really helpful. I have told him my experience and, although we have a close relationship, he insists his eating behaviour is different from my former behaviour. Yet, I see so many similarities. It is not just the binge eating, it is the distorted body image. He sees himself as 'small', I see him as a pretty normal looking 19 year old who, when he flexes, is extremely muscular. He then states he is 'fat' (after he has overeaten). I have told him this is a 'feeling' not a physical change.

He is dependent on exercise and now the gyms are closed, he has been trying to exercise at home. He puts himself through a torturous routine and I think the binge response may be a way of him 'rebelling' over the restrictions he places in himself.

He has refused to see the doctor, so far. I think you are right. I will have to wait until he acknowledges that he really does need help.
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
1,686
Location
Planet Mercury
Thank you for the replies. They are really helpful. I have told him my experience and, although we have a close relationship, he insists his eating behaviour is different from my former behaviour. Yet, I see so many similarities. It is not just the binge eating, it is the distorted body image. He sees himself as 'small', I see him as a pretty normal looking 19 year old who, when he flexes, is extremely muscular. He then states he is 'fat' (after he has overeaten). I have told him this is a 'feeling' not a physical change.

He is dependent on exercise and now the gyms are closed, he has been trying to exercise at home. He puts himself through a torturous routine and I think the binge response may be a way of him 'rebelling' over the restrictions he places in himself.

He has refused to see the doctor, so far. I think you are right. I will have to wait until he acknowledges that he really does need help.
Everyone comes to their own realization in time. He'll see that your guidance is clear and strong and that you're there for him no matter what he's going through. Don't worry so much about him if you feel like you are. He's eventually going to turn into a grown up so we all have to let go at some point
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
266
Location
Australia
Hello,

My 19 year old son has a complex anxiety disorder. He has been heavily into fitness for years. Fitness and the gym seem to give him a sense of control. With the fitness, comes controlled eating. He usually eats a lot, but it is high protein food, lots of vegetables and so on.

Recently, he has been binge eating in a way that is really worrying. Every night for the past week, he has gone on a massive binge.

He is really unhappy and wants to stop, but I do not know how to help him.

I had a mixed eating disorder many years ago. It was a mixture of anorexia and bulimia, which often manifested as binge eating and purging. It ruined my younger life and I spent very long periods in hospital.

Now, I see my son with a similar disorder and I cannot cope with my emotions.

Can someone advise me how I can help my son and how I can control my own feelings.
Has he ever given you a reason for this pattern? There is a strong link between mood and energy. To be more specific there is a strong link between your emotions and behaviours. You mention he thinks he is fat etc so that might be a clue. I would investigate further what standard is he measuring against? What environmental exposure is he subject to and is that having an impact? I can tell you in my own experience my environment has a huge impact on my moods and behaviours/decisions.
 
H

Har1Her1

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
11
Hello,

Last night he made himself sick after a binge. I hope this is just a one off.
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

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Location
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Hello,

Last night he made himself sick after a binge. I hope this is just a one off.
I'm sorry to hear this. This unfortunately sounds like it's become a habit. Habits breaking is hard to do.
 
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TheHeartHasAVoice

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Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
266
Location
Australia
When my daughter is interested in something she stays occupied in it for hours and forgets all about her appetite. Maybe encourage him to find a new interest that he can lose himself into. Maybe he is filling an emptiness with food which can be replaced with a healthy hobby instead.
 
H

Har1Her1

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
11
Hello,

I think you are both correct. It is habitual now and he does need a new interest. I think he needs a goal. I will try to help him work out some things he really wants to work toward.

The vomiting behaviour scares me a little because my old ED took that form and it had very serious consequences. Yet he does not exhibit any of his behaviours in secret and this puzzles me.
 
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