As the seasons change, the daylight lessens and the holidays approach, many people experience low moods and increased stress and anxiety. Often the holidays are particularly difficult due to family concerns, financial strains, loneliness or grief. Frequently people turn to food for comfort, also known also as "emotional eating".
For those with Binge-Eating Disorder, the holiday season can be especially difficult with the increased expectation to "eat" at workplace and family gatherings which can trigger secret binges later. People with Binge-Eating Disorder experience feelings of guilt and self-loathing, poor body image and low self-esteem that continue the cycle of eating to "feel better" or at least to "numb" the sadness. Shame often prevents them from asking for help.
Approximately 2.8 million people in the U.S. suffer from the disease of Binge-Eating Disorder, according to Shire Pharmaceutical. In February, former tennis pro Monica Seles, began her role as a spokesperson for Shire. "To me, it's really something that is as tough as any opponent I faced on the court," Seles said. "I saw such stigma and shame attached to it that here I was this great tennis player. I could control where the ball would go. I would work so hard with my coach and do what he wanted me to do. But yet when it came to my binge eating, I was just out of control. I really wanted to shed light on this."
Seles also works with the Binge Eating Disorder Association and the National Eating Disorders Association and shares more of her personal struggle in her 2009 memoir.