What is Binge Eating Disorder?


Binge eating disorder (BED) is also known as compulsive overeating. This is characterized by consuming large amounts of food, in a small period of time, while feeling unable to stop or control the behavior. Binge eating episodes usually occur a minimum of twice per week for longer than six months. It often leads to the development of weight gain, which can indirectly reinforce further compulsive eating.

Men and women who are suffering from binge eating disorder struggle with many emotions, including disgust and guilt. They tend to have related co-morbidity, such as depression and/or anxiety. The negative feelings that usually come while binge eating can lead to continued use of food to cope, which creates a cycle.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

There are many factors that influence the development of binge eating disorder, including:


Hormone irregularities or genetic pre-existing factors are associated with compulsive eating.


Binge eating has a strong relationship with depression, low self-esteem, and difficulty coping with feelings.

Social and Cultural

History of trauma can increase the risk of binge eating. There are also many social pressures to be thin, which can trigger emotional eating. 

Signs and Symptoms

Due to the nature of feeling embarrassed or shameful of their eating habits, many people who binge eat hide their symptoms. Some behavioral and emotional symptoms include:

  • Continuing to eat while full
  • Inability to stop eating
  • Stockpiling food
  • Eating normally while with other, but binge eating when isolated
  • Feeling stress or anxiety can only be relieved by eating
  • Experiencing numbness or lack of sensation while bingeing
  • Never feeling satisfied, regardless of the amount of food consumed

Some physical complications include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea
  • Hypertention
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties


Talk therapy is an effective treatment for binge eating disorder. There are three types of therapy that are especially effective:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT aims at helping individuals understand the thoughts and feeling that influence their behaviors.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

IPT focuses on the individual's relationships with family members and peers and the way they see themselves

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT focuses on teaching individuals skills to cope with stress and regulate emotions.

If binge eating is affecting your life, let us pair you with a therapist who can help (click here)!