Binge eating

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Binge eating

Binge eating is a pattern of disordered eating which consists of episodes of uncontrollable eating. It is a common symptom of eating disorders such as binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. During such binges, a person rapidly consumes an excessive quantity of food. A diagnosis of binge eating is associated with feelings of loss of control.[1]

Warning Signs[edit]

Typical warning signs of BED (Binge Eating Disorder) include the disappearance of large amount of foods in relatively short periods of time. A person who may be experiencing binge eating disorder may appear to be uncomfortable when eating around others. A person may develop new and extreme eating pattens that they have never done before. These might include diets that cut out certain food groups completely such as a no dairy or no carb diet. A person may be experiencing fluctuations in their weight. Another possible warning sign of binge eating is that a person may be obsessed with their body image or weight. [2]


There are no direct causes of binge eating; however, long term dieting, psychological issues, and an obsession with body image have been linked to binge eating. There are multiple factors that increase a person's risk of developing binge eating disorder. Family history can play a role if you have had someone in your family who was affected by binge eating. A person may not have a supportive or friendly home environment and they have a hard time expressing their problems of BED. Having a history of going on extreme diets may cause an urge to binge eat. Psychological issues such as feeling negatively about yourself or the way you look may trigger a binge. [3]


Typically the eating is done rapidly and a person will feel emotionally numb and unable to stop eating.[4] Most people who have eating binges try to hide this behavior from others, and often feel ashamed about being overweight or depressed about their overeating. Although people who do not have any eating disorder may occasionally experience episodes of overeating, frequent binge eating is often a symptom of an eating disorder.

Binge-eating disorder, as the name implies, is characterized by uncontrollable, excessive eating, followed by feelings of shame and guilt. Unlike those with bulimia, those with binge-eating disorder symptoms typically do not purge their food, fast, or excessively exercise to compensate for binges. Additionally, these individuals tend to diet more often, enroll in weight-control programs and have a history of family obesity.[5] However, many who have bulimia also have binge-eating disorder.


There are many ways to treat binge eating disorder mainly through different types of therapy. There is Behavioral Weight Loss therapy (BWL) that is meant to help a person make gradual lifestyle changes to their diet and eating habits. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) targets the chaotic eating habits of a person with BED and encourages a regular meal plan. Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) addresses the social deficits of BED and promotes lifestyle changes. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is used to teach healthy ways of dealing with emotional arousals or urges. [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mitchell, James E.; Michael J. Devlin; Martina de Zwaan; Carol B. Peterson; Scott J. Crow (2007). Binge-Eating Disorder: Clinical Foundations and Treatment. Guilford Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-1606237571. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  2. ^ Spurrell, EB (March 2002). "Age of onset for binge eating: are there different pathways to binge eating?". International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. 26 (1997): 55–65. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0801949. PMID 11896484.
  3. ^ Hodges, EL (March 2002). "Family characteristics of binge-eating disorder patients". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 26 (3): 299–307. doi:10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199803)23:2<145::aid-eat4>;2-k. PMID 9503239.
  4. ^ D. Zweig, Rene; Robert L. Leahy (2012). Treatment Plans and Interventions for Bulimia and Binge-Eating Disorder. Guilford Press. p. 28. ISBN 9781462504947. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. ^ Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan (2013). (Ab)normal Psychology. McGraw Hill. p. 345–346. ISBN 978-0078035388.
  6. ^ Iacovino, Juliette (2012). "Psychological Treatments for Binge Eating Disorder". Current Psychiatry Reports. 14 (4): 432–446. doi:10.1007/s11920-012-0277-8. PMC 3433807. PMID 22707016.

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