Binge Eating Disorder

(Also Known As: Binge Eating, Compulsive Eating, Compulsive Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder, Uncontrolled Eating)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a psychological disorder classified as an eating disorder not otherwise specified. It is characterized by disturbing episodes of overeating in which individuals feel a loss of control. Persons with binge eating disorder tend to have episodes of eating large quantities of food until they feel ill or uncomfortable. These episodes are often triggered by emotionally stressful events or situations. People with binge eating disorder may have varying degrees of obesity; however the disorder affects individuals regardless of body weight. 1

It is a proposed classification in the fifth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is similar to bulimia nervosa, but without the inappropriate purging behaviors (such as inducing vomiting or misusing laxatives). 2 In the past people with binge eating disorder has often been referred to as compulsive overeaters, emotional eaters, or food addicts. Binge eating disorder must be distinguished from the condition of obese people who do not binge eat, as obesity itself is not a psychiatric condition but a medical one, although approximately 20-30% of people who seek treatment for obesity meet the criteria for Binge Eating Disorder. 3

People who have had a history of adverse childhood experiences (such as physical or sexual abuse), have low self-esteem, are shy and are exposed to risk factors for obesity tend to be at higher risk of developing binge eating disorder.

Could You Have Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge Eating Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anorexia Nervosa – Starvation, Over-Exercise, Laxatives, Diuretics, Warped Body Image
Bulimia Nervosa – purging, fasting enema, laxatives, diuretics, recurrent binge eating
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – irrational worry, anxiety, depression
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – obsession, compulsiveness, repeated ritualistic activities