Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder and affects 30 percent of people in weight-control programs, according to an article published online by PubMed Central. BED is characterized by:

  • Eating a large amount of food in a discreet period of time.
  • A sense of lack of control with eating during the episode.
  • BED is associated with three or more of the following:
  • Eating more rapidly than normal.
  • Eating until uncomfortably full.
  • Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry.
  • Hiding eating behavior because of embarrassment.
  • Feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty after the episode.
  • There is marked distress about binge eating.
  • Occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  • It is not associated with compensatory purging behaviors.

What causes BED?

Stress, depression and anxiety are known triggers. BED can stem from dysfunctional early attachment relationships that cause an individual to seek food for comfort. Trauma (physical, sexual or emotional) can also lead to binge eating. A person who binge eats typically has a very poor body image, making them experience horrible feelings of “fatness,” especially after eating “forbidden” foods.

Because dieting and food restraint tend to provoke impulsive eating, the cornerstone of treatment for BED is cognitive behavioral therapy. There are also medications that can help to control binging.

Complete the following “Binge Eating Disorder Screener” if you suspect you may have BED.

Click here for the Binge Eating Questionnaire

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