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What Is Binge Eating Disorder

How to Stop Binge Eating? | Psychologist Dr. Sujitha

Binge eating disorder is a specific form of eating disorder that is now officially recognized. It affects around 2% of the worlds population and can lead to other health problems associated with food, like diabetes and high cholesterol.

Feeding and eating disorders are classified as mental diseases since they are not just related to food. People usually develop coping mechanisms for a more profound issue or a psychological ailment like worry or depression.

Who Does It Affect

Eating disorders can affect anyone, but some people may be at higher risk. People who experience lower self-esteem or poor body image, perfectionism, or difficulties dealing with stress may be more likely to experience an eating disorder. A lack of positive social supports and other important connections may also play a big part. In some cases, eating disorders can go along with other mental illnesses.

Our beliefs around body image are also important. While the media may often portray thinness as an ideal body type, this alone doesnt cause an eating disorder. How we think about those messages and apply them to our lives is what affects our self-esteem and self-worth.

Breaking 5 Myths Of Binge Eating

Binge Eating Disorder is the most common of all the eating disorders but incongruently, with the least treatment options for the sufferers. Until recently, BED was not even recognized as an actual disorder and could not be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by The American Psychiatric Association.

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What If I Have An Eating Disorder

If you think you may have an eating disorder:

Tell someone. Tell a parent, teacher, counselor, or an adult you trust. Let them know what you’re going through. Ask them to help.

Get help early. When an eating disorder is caught early, a person has a better chance of recovery. Make an appointment with your doctor or an eating disorders specialist.

Go to all appointments. Treatment takes time and effort. Work hard to learn about yourself and your emotions. Ask questions any time you have them.

Be patient with yourself. There’s so much to learn, and change happens a little at a time. Take care of yourself and be with people who support you.

What Causes Eating Disorders

How to Stop Binge Eating

There’s no single cause for eating disorders. Genes, environment, and stressful events all play a role. Some things can increase a person’s chance of having an eating disorder, such as:

  • poor body image
  • too much focus on weight or looks
  • dieting at a young age
  • playing sports that focus on weight
  • having a family member with an eating disorder
  • mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or OCD

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Causes And Warning Signs For Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorder will often feel like they cannot control their eating. They will eat a lot of food throughout the day and not consider the calories consumed. The habit of binge eating can be caused by several factors that influence the affected persons life.

People with binge eating disorder have low self-esteem and tend to not like their bodies. They also tend to be depressed and eat to cope with emotional stress.

Sometimes binge eating disorder runs in families. Research suggests there may be a genetic component to binge eating disorder. Behaviors of binge eating can also be taught and encouraged by family members. It is important to consider the behavior modeled for children during childhood.

Example: If you were taught bad eating habits like using food as comfort, you will learn that overeating and emotional eating is a method of coping with stress. You may also learn to use food as a reward or method of celebrating if you were rewarded with food or special meals as a child.

Unspecified Feeding Or Eating Disorder

This category applies to where behaviors cause clinically significant distress/impairment of functioning, but do not meet the full criteria of any of the Feeding or Eating Disorder criteria. This category may be used by clinicians where a clinician chooses not to specify why criteria are not met, including presentations where there may be insufficient information to make a more specific diagnosis .

Disclaimer: The material on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Always consult your physician or other qualified health provider for diagnosis and treatment of any health-related matter.

The mission of FREED is to help determine the causes and risk factors associated with developing eating disorders facilitate the development of treatments and promote education, prevention and recovery from these illnesses.


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How Is Binge Eating Disorder Different From Bulimia Nervosa

People who have bulimia nervosa routinely try to prevent weight gain after binge eating by vomiting, using laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or exercising excessively. People with binge eating disorder may occasionally try these strategies to avoid weight gain, but it is not a regular part of their binge-eating behavior.

The Eating Disorder Warning Signs To Watch For

Five things you may experience after recovering from an eating disorder that people dont talk about

Eating disorders are a growing problem, especially among young people. Services provided by the UK National Health Service for eating disorders in children and adolescents, in both urgent and routine referrals, doubled with the pandemic. Spending more time than ever at home, engaging more frequently with social media, and a lack of control could all be factors that have contributed to the problem.

Three of the most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. These serious mental health disorders lead to extreme problems with your thoughts surrounding food, the relationship you have with it, and your everyday eating habits. While they are more common in women, they can affect anybody. Lets take a look at 20 warning signs of eating disorders.

Note: This article is informative and not to be used for diagnostic purposes. If you are worried about your health or someone elses, its vital that you speak to a doctor as soon as possible.

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Binge Eating Disorder And Living In A Larger Body

Because long-term dieting is associated with Binge Eating Disorder, many people end up being caught in a cycle of losing and regaining weight throughout their lives. This is known as weight cycling and requires a great deal of energy for the body to cope with these continuous changes.

Weight cycling has consequences for physical health, but also has psychological consequences , that are often exacerbated by comments from others

People experiencing Binge Eating Disorder who also live in a larger body often experience additional stigma and size discrimination.

Weight loss is often praised and glorified in society, particularly for people in larger bodies. This may be experienced in family and social settings, within fitness communities, and from health professionals. This increases pressure to engage in dieting, to lose weight, and to maintain weight loss. This pressure, along with engaging in dieting can increase the risk of engaging in binge eating.

Seeking support from professionals who adopt a weight-inclusive approach to health, such as the Health At Every Size approach, may benefit people in larger bodies with Binge Eating Disorder.

HAES Australia

HAES Australia is a non-profit, member-based association that brings together the highest quality information, training and specialists in Australia for the Health at Every Size® approach.

Renegotiating Binge Foods In Bed Recovery

Many individuals who struggle with binge eating also may have particular foods that trigger binge episodes. Foods that are higher in carbohydrates and fats can cause the release of the hormone serotonin in the brain, which can induce pleasurable feelings. For this reason, people who are dealing with binge eating disorder often gravitate towards foods with these components, either for comfort or as a means of escaping from difficult situations.

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Health Effects Of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating has major effects on an affected persons overall health. The consequences that an affected person experiences are serious, and often require medical attention. The chances of suffering from a medical consequence worsen the longer the binge-eating behavior is not addressed by a professional.

There are many medical consequences for binge eating disorder, including:

  • Obesity
  • Heart attack
  • Cardiovascular issues

There are also mental health consequences a person may experience due to binge eating disorder. These mental health consequences may develop as a result of the impact that binge eating has on a persons self-esteem. They may also be pre-existing conditions that worsen due to using binge eating behaviors. The following are mental health consequences a person with binge eating disorder may experience:

  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

What Can I Expect In Recovery

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If you feel stuck in a cycle of binge eating, take heart: Most people can overcome this disorder with treatment. It’s possible for you, too.

Most importantly, be patient with yourself. People with binge eating disorder often blame themselves. As you work toward recovery, you may have setbacks. Those bumps in the road aren’t unusual as you gradually gain more control over your eating.

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Who Is More Likely To Develop Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder can occur in people of average body weight, but it is more common in people who have obesity, particularly severe obesity. However, it is important to note that most people with obesity do not have binge eating disorder.

Binge eating disorder is more common in younger and middle-aged people. However, older people can be affected, too.

Binge eating disorder is common among people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.3,4 The distress of having diabetes, which requires a constant focus on weight and food control, may be the reason for this link. In some people, binge eating disorder contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes, both through excessive weight gain and increased risk of metabolic abnormalities. Binge eating disorder can also make it harder for people with diabetes to control their blood glucose, also known as blood sugar.

For some people, painful childhood experiencessuch as family problems and critical comments about your shape, weight, or eating habitsare linked to developing binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder runs in families, and researchers have identified a genetic component as well.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eaters usually are unhappy about their weight and many feel depressed.

Someone who’s binge eating also might:

  • eat a lot of food quickly
  • hide food containers or wrappers in their room
  • have big changes in their weight
  • skip meals, eat at unusual times , and eat alone
  • have a history of eating in response to emotional stress

People who binge might have feelings that are common in many eating disorders, such as depression, anxiety, guilt, or shame. They may avoid school, work, or socializing with friends because they’re ashamed of their binge eating problem or changes in their body shape and weight.

When kids or teen binge eat, parents may first suspect a problem when large amounts of food go missing from the pantry or refrigerator.

Binge eating is different from bulimia, another eating disorder. People with bulimia binge eat, but try to make up for overeating by throwing up, using laxatives, or over-exercising to lose weight.

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How Is Binge Eating Disorder Treated

Beating binge eating disorder is not about willpower.

Sometimes medications such as lisdexamfetamine will be prescribed to suppress the desire to binge eat. It is the first FDA-approved drug to treat moderate to severe binge eating by curbing the binge eating episodes. You also need the help of a specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.

They may use an approach called cognitive behavior therapy, which focuses on what you do and how you feel. It can help you change your thoughts about eating and understand what triggers your binges.

Your therapist may suggest that you include your family in counseling so they can learn about the disorder, spot sources of stress at home, and know how to support you. Family support is very important to treatment success. It is important that they understand the eating disorder and recognize its signs and symptoms.

Ask your doctor or therapist about finding a support group in your area. It can help to talk to other people who know what you’re going through.

You also may need help with other conditions, such as depression or anxiety. A doctor may prescribe an antidepressant, a drug to help manage the urge to binge , or other medications. A new medication, naltrexone hcl/bupropion hcl , helps with weight loss.

What Is An Eating Disorder

How To Stop Binge Eating and Emotional Eating Once and For All

An eating disorder is a medical diagnosis based on your eating patterns. It involves medical tests on your weight, blood and body mass index .

An eating problem means any relationship with food that you find difficult. Not every eating problem will be diagnosed as a disorder.

Eating disorders are a diagnosed type of eating problem.

Diagnosing an eating disorder

Food is one of the many mediums through which our emotions and distress can be expressed.

Understanding feelings and behaviours linked to certain eating disorders can be helpful. This is true even if you don’t have a diagnosis. Or, if you prefer to consider your experiences in a non-medical way.

There can be complications in getting a formal diagnosis:

  • If your problems with eating aren’t easy for your doctor to categorise, they might not give you a diagnosis.
  • You may have a very difficult relationship with food which affects your mental health, but doesn’t fit into any current diagnoses.
  • You may be experiencing more than one eating disorder, or symptoms from multiple disorders.

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If I Take Medicine To Treat Binge Eating Disorder Can I Breastfeed My Baby

Maybe. Some medicines used to treat binge eating disorder can pass through breastmilk. Certain antidepressants can be used safely during breastfeeding.

Talk to your doctor to find out what medicine works best for you. Learn more about medicines and breastfeeding in our Breastfeeding section. You can also enter a medicine into the LactMed® database to find out if the medicine passes through breastmilk and about any possible side effects for your nursing baby.

Kids Binge Eating And The Rise In Obesity In American Children

The response to this epidemic has sent many mixed messages to families, who may feel unsure about how to handle their growing children. Could a country that is hyper-focused on obesity in our youth, in combination with a culture that is saturated with a disillusioned media, be leading to a rise in eating disorders in younger generations?

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Binge Eating Disorder Is Serious But Doesnt Get The Attention It Requires

Even though its the most common eating disorder, binge eating disorder wasnt recognized formally by the psychological community until 2013. It will take time for the rest of the world to catch up to the DSM-5, as currently, this widespread disorder is dismissed as overeating, leading to an underserved population that numbers in the millions. If you or a loved one suspects the binge eating disorder is a problem, dont wait. Reach out to your doctor or a qualified specialist to get on the road to binge eating recovery.

What Are The Symptoms Of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder

If you have binge eating disorder, you:

  • Eat more food than other people do in the same situation.
  • Diet a lot
  • Lose desire for sex

People with binge eating disorder don’t try to throw up after overeating. You can get other health problems related to gaining weight or unhealthy eating, too, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.

You also may have trouble sleeping, muscle and joint pain, and digestive problems. Women may have irregular or infrequent menstrual periods.

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Reasonable Exercise Plans For Someone Recovering From Binge Eating Disorder

For those struggling with binge eating disorder, their exercise patterns tend to mirror their eating patterns falling prey to an all-or-nothing tendency. With food, this involves a restriction/binge cycle and for exercise, this all-or-nothing tendency usually shows up as a cycle of no pain/no gain exercise and then being sedentary.

Types Of Eating Disorders

A serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.


  • Food restriction leading to significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, development, and physical health

  • Intense fear of weight gain or becoming fat

  • Persistent behavior interfering with weight gain despite low weight, such as fasting or excessive exercise

  • Disturbed experience of ones body weight or shape, influenced by self-evaluation or persistent lack of recognizing the seriousness of current low body weight

  • Restricting behavior or binge eating and purging behaviors

Medical Complications and Associated Features

  • Signs of depression, such as depressed mood, social withdrawal, irritability, insomnia, and diminished interest in sex

  • Obsessive-compulsive features, both related and unrelated to food

  • Elevated suicide risk
  • Delayed puberty, lack of development

  • Hormonal imbalance

  • Gastrointestinal complications such as stomach aches, bloating, constipation, and acid reflux

  • Vital sign disturbances, such as dangerously low blood pressure

  • Loss of and/or weakened heart muscle

  • Heart palpitations and chest pain

  • Bradycardia or tachycardia

  • Heart failure

  • Edema

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Binge Eating Disorder: When Comfort Eating Crosses The Line

Eating for comfort or emotional reasons is not necessarily a bad thing. That is as long as the food does not become the main source of comfort or method for dealing with lifes stress and challenges. Using food to consistently soothe emotional upheaval can quickly become Binge Eating Disorder, and this can result in some serious health consequences.

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