Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder


Binge Eating Disorder (BED) consists of repeated binge eating episodes. Binge eating episodes consist of 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 feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating, feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty afterwards. People with binge eating disorder feel distressed about binge eating.

Individuals suffering from BED can be normal weight, overweight, or obese. Binge eating disorder occurs in about 3 to 5% of women and about 2% of men. Binge eating is the most common eating disorder among men; about 40% of those suffering from BED are male. Although it can occur at any age, often individuals suffering from BED are middle aged.

Signs of Binge Eating Disorder can also include:

  • evidence of binge-eating (e.g., disappearance or hoarding food)
  • secretive behavior relating to food (e.g., hiding food and food wrappers around the house)
  • increased isolation and withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities
  • spending a lot of money on food
  • preoccupation with eating, food, and body shape and weight
  • extreme body dissatisfaction and shame about appearance
  • feeling bloated or constipated
  • feeling fatigued
  • depression, anxiety, irritability

The gold standard, most effective treatment for BED is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT targets the thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that contribute to and maintain binge eating. Your therapist will help you identify and address triggers that lead to binge eating. You will also learn to tolerate urges to binge without having to act on them, and to manage intense emotions in ways that don’t involve binge eating. Urges to binge become weaker over time the less you engage in them. Your therapist will also work with you to challenge thoughts and eliminate behaviors that contribute to a negative body image. If applicable, co-occurring anxiety and depressive disorders are also addressed.

For More Information:

National Eating Disorders Association
Academy for Eating Disorders