Binge Eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder involves repeated episodes of uncontrolled eating.

It is a different illness from bulimia since people with binge-eating disorder do not purge after a binge.

Binge eaters will eat very rapidly, often obsessively until they are uncomfortably full. They will eat big portions of food even if they are not actually hungry. Because of this, many binge eaters engage in binges secretively as they are embarrassed by how much they have eaten and feel guilty and depressed following these episodes.

Binges tend to be triggered by depression or anxiety. During the binge itself, sufferers often speak of feeling out of control or disconnected from their actions.

Binge eaters are often obese. Many have been 'yo-yo' dieters, who have experienced large fluctuations in their weight from a cycle of diet throughout their lives, however not everyone who is obese suffers from binge-eating disorder.

Binge-eating disorder sufferers eat excessively in order to cope with stress and then feel very much out of control afterwards. Binge-eating is a psychological disorder and binges/weight gain are merely symptoms of underlying issues. Some people with binge-eating disorder do recognise that there is something wrong.

Approximately one in five young women report that they have had a bingeing relationship with food.

Diagnostic criteria for binge-eating disorder:

  • Binge eating accompanied by an awareness that the eating pattern is abnormal
  • Fear of not being able to stop eating voluntarily.
  • Bingeing occurs on average at least twice weekly for three months
  • Depressed mood
  • Self-deprecating thoughts following eating binges
  • Symptoms & signs:

  • Weight gain, often leading to obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Chronic kidney problems or kidney failure
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Food disappearing rapidly from the fridge and cupboards
  • Finding an excessive amount of food wrappers in the bin, or hidden in the sufferers bedroom.
  • Some sufferers may plan out their day, allocating time to go food shopping and binge afterwards. This can become very expensive and, because of the addictive nature of eating disorders, sufferers may fall into debt, in order to pay for the large quantities of food.

  • < Back to information page