Binge eating disorder (BED) is a compulsive eating behaviour which is categorised by recurrent episodes of consuming excess amounts of food and not able to stop eating. About 2 % of the people globally are affected by this disorder which is associated with other health conditions like dyslipidaemia and diabetes

It is quite common for us to indulge in food during parties or occasions, but in people with binge eating disorder, overeating becomes a habit. In most situations, people develop this disorder as a means of managing health issues or psychological problems like anxiety and depression. Also Read: Emotional Eating: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

The exact causes of binge eating disorder are not clear. However, hereditary, biological factors, persistent dieting and mental health issues may increase the risk. It is more common among women than in men and mostly seen in young teens or those in the early twenties.
binge eating diosrder

Risk Factors

Family History

The risk factor for Binge eating disorder increases if any of your parents or siblings have an eating disorder.


Dieting or severe calorie restrictions during the day may stimulate a craving to binge eat, especially if you suffer from depression.

Psychological Problems

Some people with an eating disorder feel negative and inferior about their self, skills and achievements. Factors that trigger for binge eating disorders include stress, poor body self-image and easy availability of foodstuffs. Also Read: Beat The Binge With These 5 Eating Rules


Generally, most people with binge eating disorder are found to be obese or overweight. Some of the behavioural and emotional symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

  • Consuming excess amounts of food within a two-hour period
  • Eating behaviour that is going out of control
  • Eating food when are not hungry or feeling full
  • Frequent binge eating episodes
  • Eating until you feel uncomfortably full
  • Eating food alone or in a secret place
  • Depression, guilty, ashamed or offended about overeating
  • Continuous dieting without any changes in weight


A person suffering from this disorder may have mental and physical issues related to binge eating including:

  • Poor quality of life
  • Hinders the normal functioning at work, home and social situations.
  • Loneliness
  • Obesity
  • Risk of developing other health conditions related to obesity such as joint problems, heart disease, diabetes, GERD and sleep disorder.

Psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Seek immediate medical care if you have any of the symptoms of binge eating disorder. The problems may change in the course, for some it may be short-lived to repeated, while it may also continue for years if left untreated. Talk to a physician or mental health specialist about BED symptoms and feelings. If you are hesitant to seek medical care, then talk to a friend, teacher, loved ones or a mentor whom you trust who can be of great support and help you successfully overcome the disorder of binge eating.

Diagnosis And Treatment

The doctor may recommend a psychological assessment including eating behaviours and habits to diagnose binge eating disorder. Furthermore, doctors may also suggest the patients do certain blood work to evaluate health consequences of binge eating disorder which include such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, GERD and sleep-related disorders.


The main treatment approach for binge eating disorder is to minimise the binge eating episodes and develop a healthy eating habit. Treatment strategies mainly address mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and ways to feel more control about eating habits.


Psychotherapist helps a person to develop healthy eating habits and lessen binge eating episodes. Cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and dialectical behaviour therapy are some of the therapies that may help the patients overcome the disorder.


Doctors may also prescribe antidepressants that may help to reduce binge eating behaviours and uplift mood.

Weight Loss Therapy

This therapy aims to enhance binge eating symptoms by focussing on weight reduction that promotes body image. Generally, weight loss programs can be really helpful for a person with binge eating disorder when they are also getting cognitive behavioural therapy.