In a brave new interview with People, former tennis star Monica Seles opened up about her struggle with Binge Eating Disorder, one we don't hear about as often despite the alarming number of people who suffer from it.
"BED is actually the most common and overlooked of all eating disorders," Sandra Fischbein, a Los Angeles-area MFT (who did not treat Seles) tells Cambio.
"It is seen as an inability to have control or simply gluttony but actually individuals suffering with BED have a great deal of shame and very little support," explained Fischbein, who specializes in treating clients with eating disorders.
It sounds like that is exactly why Monica made the decision to open about the deeply personal struggle. "It took a while until I felt comfortable talking about it," Monica tells People. "That's one of the reasons I decided to do this campaign: to raise awareness that binge eating is a real medical condition."
Monica admits that after she developed the condition, she would binge on "huge amounts of food in a very short period of time," which was difficult for her to comprehend. "It was very hard to understand how on the tennis court, I would be so focused and so disciplined in my training, but when it came to binge eating I had zero control," she says. "I felt really embarrassed about it."
Fortunately, she had the courage to seek help and Monica is now able to manage her disorder.
The 41-year-old has now partnered with Binge Eating Disorder Association and National Eating Disorders Association to help raise awareness about the condition. Hopefully, the benefits will be two-fold: Educating those who don't fully understand it and encouraging those who are suffering to seek help.
For more on Monica's story and to learn more about the condition, check out her public service announcement below.
**If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorder Association's toll-free information and referral hotline at 1-800-931-2237**