Binge eating disorder (BED) is eating larger amounts of food than what is normal. People with BED may not feel like they have control over how they eat.
The cause of BED is unknown. It may be linked to problems with how the brain works. It may be a mix of your genes, way of life, and environment.
Depression may be a factor in binge eating disorder.
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BED is more common in women. Your risk may also be higher for:
The main symptom is eating large amounts of food over a short period of time.
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Binge eating is diagnosed when:
- At least one binge eating episode a week for 3 months
- Eating is more than what most people would in less than 2 hours
- There's a lack of control over eating behavior
- Binge eating causes major distress
3 or more episodes of:
- Eating faster than normal
- Feeling uncomfortably full after eating
- Eating large amounts when you aren't hungry
- Eating alone due to feeling shame
- Feeling unhappy or guilty after eating
BED is treated with one or more of these:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy —You will learn how to keep track of how you eat. Then, you can change your bad habits into healthy ones. This may also involve learning how to control situations as they come up. You will start to feel better about your body shape and weight.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy—A counselor will help you look the people in your life. From there, you can make changes that will help you rather than hurt you.
- Physical therapy—To help ease feelings of depression. This may involve yoga or aerobics.
- Medicines—Some antidepressants may be helpful for some people.
There is no way to prevent BED since the cause is unknown.
American Psychiatric Association
NEDA—National Eating Disorders Association
Canadian Mental Health Association
National Eating Disorder Information Center
Binge eating disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T563461/Binge-eating-disorder. June 15, 2017. Accessed August 31, 2018.
Binge eating disorder. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/binge-eating.html. Updated October 2014. Accessed August 31, 2018.
Binge eating disorder. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/binge-eating-disorder. Accessed August 31, 2018.
Eating disorder types and symptoms. National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders website. Available at: http://www.anad.org/education-and-awareness/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorder-types-and-symptoms. Accessed August 31, 2018.
Vancampfort D, Vanderlinden J, et al. A systematic review on physical therapy interventions for patients with binge eating disorder. Disabil Rehabil. 2013;35(26):2191-2196.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 8/31/2018