Binge eating

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Binge eating
SymptomsEating addiction

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] Binge eating disorder is also linked with being overweight and obesity.[2]


The DSM-5 includes a disorder diagnosis criterion for Binge Eating Disorder (BED). It is as follows:[3]

  • Recurrent and persistent episodes of binge eating
  • Binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
    • Eating much more rapidly than normal
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    • Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry
    • Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
  • Marked distress regarding binge eating
  • Absence of regular compensatory behaviors (such as purging)

Warning signs[edit]

Typical warning signs of binge eating disorder include the disappearance of a large quantity of food in a relatively short period of time. A person who may be experiencing binge eating disorder may appear to be uncomfortable when eating around others or in public.[4] A person may develop new and extreme eating patterns 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. Binge eating can begin before a first attempt at dieting.[5] They might also steal or hoard food in unusual places.[4] A person may be experiencing fluctuations in their weight. In addition, they may have feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt about overeating.[4] Another possible warning sign of binge eating is that a person may be obsessed with their body image or weight.[6]

Furthermore, patients who binge eat may also engage in other self-destructing behaviours like suicide attempts, drug use, shop-lifting, and drinking too much alcohol.[7][8][9][10] The onset of binge eating without dieting is linked to a higher risk of mental health issues and a younger age of onset.[5] BED patients can experience comorbid psychiatric instability.[5]


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 could play a role if that person had a family member who was affected by binge eating. Said person may not have a supportive or friendly home environment, and they have a hard time expressing their problems with BED. Having a history of going on extreme diets may cause an urge to binge eat. Psychological issues such as feeling negatively about oneself or the way they look may trigger a binge.[11]

Weight stigma has also been found to predict binge eating,[12] highlighting the importance of weight inclusive approaches to binge eating disorder that do not exercerbate this potential cause.

Health risks[edit]

There are several physical, emotional, and social health risks when associated with binge eating disorder. These risks include depression, anxiety, and heart disease.[13]

One study found that people with obesity who experience binge eating have a higher body mass index, and higher levels of depression and stress than those who did not have with binge eating disorder[14] Exposure to two major categories of risk factors—those that raise the risk for obesity and those that raise the risk for psychiatric disorders in general—can be associated with binge eating disorder.[15]


Typically, the eating is done rapidly, and a person will feel emotionally numb and unable to stop eating.[16] 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.

BED is characterized by uncontrollable, excessive eating, followed by feelings of shame and guilt. Unlike those with bulimia, those with BED 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.[17] However, many who have bulimia also have binge-eating disorder.

Along with the social and physical health that is affected when suffering from BED, there are psychiatric disorders that are often linked to BED. Some of them being but are not limited to: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, substance abuse/use disorder.[citation needed]


Current treatments for binge eating disorder mainly consist of psychological therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT),[18] Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT),[19] and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT).[20] There are currently no effective medications available to treat BED.[21] A study conducted on the long term efficacy of psychological treatments for binge eating showed that both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) effectively treat binge eating disorder, with 64.4% of patients completely recovering from binge eating.[22]


APA DSM[edit]

The American Psychiatric Association mentioned and listed binge eating under the listed criteria and features of bulimia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - 3 in 1987. By including binge eating in the DSM-3, even if not on its own as a separate eating disorder, they brought awareness to the disorder and gave it mental disorder legitimacy. This allowed for people to receive the appropriate treatment for binge eating and for their disorder to be legitimized.

Drug therapy[edit]

In January 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate, also known as Vyvanse, for the treatment of binge eating, allowing for the several who are affected to receive drug related help, on top of outside help. The FDA reported that there were only a few side-effects.[23]

Men with binge eating[edit]

Men with binge eating often face unique barriers to seeking treatment due to socio-cultural expectations surrounding masculinity. After men compare their bodies to the culturally constructed masculine ideals, they often develop heightened concerns about their own body image and internalize the belief that their bodies should be muscular, lean, and strong, developing unhealthy behaviors like binge eating or using fad diets.[24][25] Many men hesitate to reach out for help out of fear of appearing weak, 'less like a man' or even homosexual.[26][27] The pervasive stereotype that eating disorders primarily affect females has contributed to feelings of shame and isolation among men who are affected by these disorders. This gender-based stigma surrounding eating disorders and strongly feminine branding of eating disorder treatment centers create a significant barrier to men's willingness to reach out for support.[28][29][30][31] Men are more likely to partake in compulsive or excessive exercising as a compensation to highly calorific diets, leading to body dysmorphia.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mitchell JE, Devlin MJ, de Zwaan M, Crow SJ, Peterson C (2007). Binge-Eating Disorder: Clinical Foundations and Treatment. Guilford Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-60623-757-1. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  2. ^ Wilson GT, Wilfley DE, Agras WS, Bryson SW (January 2010). "Psychological treatments of binge eating disorder". Archives of General Psychiatry. 67 (1): 94–101. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.170. PMC 3757519. PMID 20048227.
  3. ^ Marx R (2014). "New in the DSM-5: Binge Eating Disorder". Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  4. ^ a b c "Binge Eating Disorder". 26 February 2017. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  5. ^ a b c Spurrell, E. B.; Wilfley, D. E.; Tanofsky, M. B.; Brownell, K. D. (1996). <55::aid-eat7>;2-2 "Age of onset for binge eating: Are there different pathways to binge eating?". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 21 (1): 55–65. doi:10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199701)21:1<55::aid-eat7>;2-2. PMID 8986518.
  6. ^ Dingemans AE, Bruna MJ, van Furth EF (March 2002). "Binge eating disorder: a review". International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. 26 (3): 299–307. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0801949. PMID 11896484.
  7. ^ Newton JR, Freeman CP, Munro J (June 1993). "Impulsivity and dyscontrol in bulimia nervosa: is impulsivity an independent phenomenon or a marker of severity?". Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 87 (6): 389–94. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1993.tb03393.x. PMID 8356889. S2CID 30555928.
  8. ^ Lacey JH (August 1993). "Self-damaging and addictive behaviour in bulimia nervosa. A catchment area study". The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science. 163: 190–4. doi:10.1192/bjp.163.2.190. PMID 8075910. S2CID 6851594.
  9. ^ Stein D, Lilenfeld LR, Wildman PC, Marcus MD (2004). "Attempted suicide and self-injury in patients diagnosed with eating disorders". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 45 (6): 447–51. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2004.07.011. PMID 15526255.
  10. ^ Noma S, Uwatoko T, Ono M, Miyagi T, Murai T (May 2015). "Differences between nonsuicidal self-injury and suicidal behavior in patients with eating disorders". Journal of Psychiatric Practice. 21 (3): 198–207. doi:10.1097/PRA.0000000000000067. PMID 25955262. S2CID 11325055.
  11. ^ Hodges EL, Cochrane CE, Brewerton TD (March 1998). "Family characteristics of binge-eating disorder patients". The International Journal of Eating Disorders. 23 (2): 145–151. doi:10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199803)23:2<145::aid-eat4>;2-k. PMID 9503239.
  12. ^ Puhl R, Suh Y (June 2015). "Health Consequences of Weight Stigma: Implications for Obesity Prevention and Treatment". Current Obesity Reports. 4 (2): 182–190. doi:10.1007/s13679-015-0153-z. PMID 26627213. S2CID 24953213.
  13. ^ Sheehan DV, Herman BK (2015-04-23). "The Psychological and Medical Factors Associated With Untreated Binge Eating Disorder". The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders. 17 (2): 27178. doi:10.4088/PCC.14r01732. PMC 4560195. PMID 26445695.
  14. ^ da Luz FQ, Hay P, Touyz S, Sainsbury A (June 2018). "Obesity with Comorbid Eating Disorders: Associated Health Risks and Treatment Approaches". Nutrients. 10 (7): 829. doi:10.3390/nu10070829. PMC 6073367. PMID 29954056.
  15. ^ Hilbert, Anja; Bishop, Monica E.; Stein, Richard I.; Tanofsky-Kraff, Marian; Swenson, Anne K.; Welch, R. Robinson; Wilfley, Denise E. (March 2012). "Long-term efficacy of psychological treatments for binge eating disorder". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 200 (3): 232–237. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.089664. ISSN 0007-1250. PMC 3290797. PMID 22282429.
  16. ^ Zweig RD, Leahy RL (2012). Treatment Plans and Interventions for Bulimia and Binge-Eating Disorder. Guilford Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-4625-0494-7. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  17. ^ Nolen-Hoeksema S (2013). (Ab)normal Psychology. McGraw Hill. pp. 345–346. ISBN 978-0-07-803538-8.
  18. ^ Peterson CB, Engel SG, Crosby RD, Strauman T, Smith TL, Klein M, et al. (September 2020). "Comparing integrative cognitive-affective therapy and guided self-help cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat binge-eating disorder using standard and naturalistic momentary outcome measures: A randomized controlled trial". The International Journal of Eating Disorders. 53 (9): 1418–1427. doi:10.1002/eat.23324. PMID 32583478. S2CID 220060441.
  19. ^ Tanofsky-Kraff M, Wilfley DE, Young JF, Mufson L, Yanovski SZ, Glasofer DR, Salaita CG (June 2007). "Preventing excessive weight gain in adolescents: interpersonal psychotherapy for binge eating". Obesity. 15 (6): 1345–1355. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.162. PMC 1949388. PMID 17557971.
  20. ^ Rozakou-Soumalia N, Dârvariu Ş, Sjögren JM (September 2021). "Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Improves Emotion Dysregulation Mainly in Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". Journal of Personalized Medicine. 11 (9): 931. doi:10.3390/jpm11090931. PMC 8470932. PMID 34575707.
  21. ^ Heal DJ, Gosden J (April 2022). "What pharmacological interventions are effective in binge-eating disorder? Insights from a critical evaluation of the evidence from clinical trials". International Journal of Obesity. 46 (4): 677–695. doi:10.1038/s41366-021-01032-9. PMID 34992243. S2CID 245774555.
  22. ^ Hilbert, Anja; Bishop, Monica E.; Stein, Richard I.; Tanofsky-Kraff, Marian; Swenson, Anne K.; Welch, R. Robinson; Wilfley, Denise E. (March 2012). "Long-term efficacy of psychological treatments for binge eating disorder". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 200 (3): 232–237. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.089664. ISSN 0007-1250. PMC 3290797. PMID 22282429.
  23. ^ "HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION" (PDF). Retrieved 2023-08-18.
  24. ^ DeBate, R., Lewis, M., Zhang, Y., Blunt, H., & Thompson, S. H. (2008). Similar but different: Sociocultural attitudes towards appearance, body shape dissatisfaction, and weight control behaviors among male and female college students. American Journal of Health Education, 39(5), 296–302.
  25. ^ Reel, J. J., & Beals, K. A. (2009). The hidden faces of eating disorders and body image. Sewickley, P.A.: AAHPERD Pubs.
  26. ^ Collier, Roger (2013-02-19). "Treatment challenges for men with eating disorders". CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. 185 (3): E137–E138. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-4363. ISSN 0820-3946. PMC 3576452. PMID 23423277.
  27. ^ Ray, S. L. (2004). Eating disorders in adolescent males. Professional School Counseling, 8(1), 98-101.
  28. ^ Arnow, Katherine D.; Feldman, Talya; Fichtel, Elizabeth; Lin, Iris Hsiao-Jung; Egan, Amber; Lock, James; Westerman, Marcus; Darcy, Alison M. (2017). "A qualitative analysis of male eating disorder symptoms". Eating Disorders. 25 (4): 297–309. doi:10.1080/10640266.2017.1308729. ISSN 1532-530X. PMID 28394743. S2CID 41760127.
  29. ^ Björk, Tabita; Wallin, Karin; Pettersen, Gunn (2012). "Male experiences of life after recovery from an eating disorder". Eating Disorders. 20 (5): 460–468. doi:10.1080/10640266.2012.715529. ISSN 1532-530X. PMID 22985242. S2CID 22304036.
  30. ^ Räisänen, Ulla; Hunt, Kate (2014-04-08). "The role of gendered constructions of eating disorders in delayed help-seeking in men: a qualitative interview study". BMJ Open. 4 (4): e004342. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004342. ISSN 2044-6055. PMC 3987710. PMID 24713213.
  31. ^ Oliffe, John L.; Phillips, Melanie J. (2009). "Men, depression and masculinities: A review and recommendations". Journal of Men's Health. 5 (3): 194–202. doi:10.1016/j.jomh.2008.03.016. ISSN 1875-6867.
  32. ^ Dalle Grave, Riccardo; Calugi, Simona; Marchesini, Giulio (2012). ""Is amenorrhea a clinically useful criterion for the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa?"". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 46 (12): 1290–1294. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2008.08.007. ISSN 1873-622X. PMID 18848697.

External links[edit]