Binge Eating Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating accompanied by feelings of distress and a lack of control. For individuals with BED, unlike bulimia nervosa, the binge-eating is not followed with purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As result of the episodes, people with binge eating disorder are often overweight or obese. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Complete recovery is possible for those with BED.


The symptoms of binge eating disorder may vary depending on the person. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as a 2-hour period
  • Eating when already full
  • Eating fast during binge episodes
  • Eating until the point of discomfort
  • Eating in private to avoid embarrassment
  • Feelings of distress or guilt about eating
  •  Frequently diet, often without the result of weight loss

Treatment and Therapies

Treatment and therapies may vary but treatment plans commonly include:

  • Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medications


  • To learn more about binge eating disorder, or to find out if it may affect you, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
  • To read more about BED and other eating disorders, the following resources are suggested:
    • NAMI:
    • NIMH:
    • NIMH “About More Than Food”: