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.

SYMPTOMS

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

Finding TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

  • 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: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Eating-Disorders
    • NIMH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders
    • NIMH “About More Than Food”: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders

 

 

COMMON TYPES OF EATING DISORDERS

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, weights, and backgrounds. Although there are more, listed below are three of the most common types of eating disorders and symptoms. It can also be noted that a large portion of individuals with eating disorders don’t meet the full criteria for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder, but instead may be diagnosed with Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED)

ANOREXIA NERVOSA

People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods.

  • Extremely restricted eating
  • Excessive exercise
  • Relentless pursuit of thinness
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image

BULIMIA NERVOSA

Binge-eating followed by behaviors that compensate for the overeating, such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors.

  • Chronically inflamed or sore throat
  • Acid reflux disorder or other gastrointestinal problems
  • Severe dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance

Binge-eating disorder

People with binge-eating disorder lose control over their eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting.

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time
  • Eating even when full or not hungry
  • Eating fast during binge episodes
  • Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about eating

TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

  • To learn more about eating disorders, or find out if you may be affected by a disorder, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
  • To read more about eating disorders, the following resources are suggested:
    • https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/
    • https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/