Binge Eating Disorder : Know the symptoms and treatment options


A significant eating condition called binge-eating disorder causes you to repeatedly eat unusually big amounts of food and feel you can not stop.

Everybody occasionally overeats, whether it is having seconds or thirds of a festive feast. However, for some individuals, excessive overeating that spirals out of control and starts to happen frequently crosses the threshold of binge-eating disorder.

If you have a binge-eating disorder, you could feel ashamed of your overeating and make a commitment to stop. You feel such a strong compulsion that you are powerless to control your urges and keep eating in excess. You may benefit from treatment if you struggle with binge eating.


There is no known cause of binge eating disorder. However, your risk is increased by genetics, biological factors, chronic dieting, and psychological problems.

How to check if you have Binge Eating Disorder?

If you have any binge-eating disorder signs, get assistance right now. If untreated, binge eating disorders can range in duration from brief to recurrent, or they can last for years.

Discuss your binge eating symptoms and sentiments with a medical practitioner or a mental health expert. If you are hesitant to get help, talk to a trusted friend or relative about how you are feeling. You can start the process of treating binge-eating disorder successfully with the assistance of a friend, family member, instructor, or religious leader.

Skilled at hiding their behaviour, a person with a binge-eating disorder may make it challenging for others to recognise the issue. Have an honest conversation with your loved one if you believe they may be experiencing binge-eating disorder symptoms.

Encourage and assist others. Offer to assist your loved one in locating and scheduling an appointment with a licenced medical or mental health practitioner. You might even propose joining them.

Risk Factors

Women are more likely than men to suffer from a binge-eating disorder. Although binge-eating disorders can affect persons of any age, they frequently start in their late teens or early 20s.

Your chance of getting binge-eating disorder may be affected by the following factors:

Family background. If your parents or siblings have (or have had) an eating disorder, you are far more likely to as well. This may suggest that the chance of developing an eating disorder is increased by inherited genes.

Dieting. There is a history of dieting among many people who have binge eating disorders. In particular, if you are experiencing signs of sadness, dieting or reducing calories during the day may make you feel the want to binge eat.

Psychiatric problems. Binge eaters frequently have unfavourable self-perceptions of their abilities and accomplishments.

Stress, a negative body image, and the availability of favourite binge foods can all be triggers for bingeing.


You can be at a normal weight despite the fact that most persons with binge-eating disorders are fat or overweight. The following are behavioural and emotional indicators of binge-eating disorder:

  • Eating a disproportionately high amount of food in a short period of time, like over a two-hour period
  • You believe your eating habits are out of control.
  • Eating when one is already full or not hungry
  • Eating quickly when having a binge
  • Eating until you are sated but not satisfied
  • Eating alone or covertly a lot
  • Feeling down about your eating, disgusted, humiliated, guilty, or upset
  • Dieting frequently, potentially without any weight loss
  • You do not typically compensate for extra calories consumed after a binge by vomiting, using laxatives, or engaging in strenuous exercise, unlike a person with bulimia. 
  • You could attempt a diet or eat normally. However, limiting your diet might just encourage more binge eating.
  • The frequency of binge events each week determines the severity of the binge-eating disorder.


Although there is no surefire technique to stop binge eating disorders if you exhibit binge eating symptoms, get expert assistance. Your healthcare professional can provide you with advice on where to turn for assistance.

Before things become worse, help a friend or loved one who you suspect has a binge-eating problem move toward healthy habits and get professional help. If you are a parent:

  • Encourage and support positive body image, regardless of body type or size.
  • Your child's primary care physician should be informed of any concerns you may have; he or she may be able to recognise early indicators of an eating disorder and stop it from developing.


Reducing eating binges and establishing good eating habits are the main objectives of treatment for binge-eating disorder. Treatment options may also address these and any other mental health conditions, such as depression since binge eating can be so closely linked to shame, a bad self-image, and other unpleasant emotions. You can learn how to feel more in control of your food by seeking therapy for binge eating.


Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) can assist in teaching you how to swap bad habits for healthy ones and lessen bingeing episodes, whether in individual or group sessions. Psychotherapy examples include:

Behavioural and cognitive therapy (CBT). CBT may help you deal more effectively with problems like unfavourable body image issues or depression that can lead to binge-eating episodes. Additionally, it could increase your sense of control over your actions and assist you in controlling your eating habits.

interpersonal counselling. Your relationships with other people are the main emphasis of this kind of therapy. Your interpersonal skills, or how you interact with people, including family, friends, and coworkers, are what you want to develop. By doing this, you might be able to lessen the amount of binge eating that is brought on by toxic relationships and poor communication.

Behavioural therapy using dialectics. You can reduce the urge to binge eat by learning behavioural skills that will help you cope with stress, control your emotions, and enhance your relationships with others.

Behavioural therapy using dialectics. You can lessen the urge to binge eat by learning behavioural skills that will help you cope with stress, control your emotions, and enhance your relationships with others.


The first medicine approved by the FDA to treat moderate to severe binge-eating disorder in adults is lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse), a medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Vyvanse is a stimulant that can be overused. Dry mouth and sleeplessness are typical side effects, although more severe adverse effects might also happen.

Other sorts of medication may also help with symptom reduction. Examples comprise:

Anticonvulsant topiramate, often known as Topamax. Topiramate, which is typically used to treat epilepsy, has also been reported to lessen instances of binge eating. However, there are adverse effects, including drowsiness, anxiousness, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating. Talk to your healthcare professional about the advantages and disadvantages.

Antidepressants. Binge eating may be decreased by antidepressants. It is unclear how they help prevent binge eating, but it might have something to do with how they impact particular brain chemicals.

It is typically ineffective to cure binge eating disorder on your own. However, you can supplement expert assistance with these self-care measures to support your treatment strategy:

Maintain your treatment plan. Do not omit therapy appointments. If you have a food plan, try to follow it, and do not let setbacks undermine your efforts in general.

Dieting should only be done under supervision. Dieting attempts might cause further binge episodes, creating a difficult-to-break vicious cycle. Do not diet unless it is advised for the treatment of your eating disorder and is overseen by your medical care provider. Instead, speak with them about the best weight-management options for you.

Consume breakfast. A lot of people who binge eat miss breakfast. You might be less groggy if you eat breakfast.

Set up your surroundings. For certain people, the availability of particular foods might cause binges. Keep enticing binge foods out of your house, or do your best to minimise your exposure to them.

Obtain the proper nutrients. When you binge, you could eat a lot, but that does not necessarily imply you are getting all the nutrients you need from your diet. To determine whether you need to change your diet to include important vitamins and minerals, consult your healthcare professional.

Maintain contact. Remain in touch with your supportive family and friends who want the best for you. Recognise that they are acting in your best interests.

Complications of Binge Eating Disorder

You could experience physical and mental side effects from binge eating.

Complications from binge eating disorder include the following:

  • A low standard of living
  • Problems with functionality in your personal life, at work, or in social situations
  • Social exclusion
  • Obesity
  • Obesity-associated illnesses such as joint issues, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and various respiratory abnormalities that are related to sleep

The following psychiatric conditions are frequently connected to binge-eating disorder:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar illness
  • Anxiety 
  • Addiction disorders


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Page last reviewed: Mar 13, 2023

Next review due: Mar 13, 2025

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