What is Binge Eating Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Some people have an eating disorder and they just can’t stop eating. Today, we’ll discuss what is binge eating disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is when you aren’t hungry, feel uncomfortably full, and eat a lot of food in a short time and can’t stop eating it. It makes you feel ashamed and embarrassed afterward. Often, distress and emotional stress play a significant role in developing BED conditions.

It’s unlike the bulimia condition where you don’t exercise a lot, use laxatives, and make yourself throw up. You can deal with “out of control” and “can’t stop” feelings with proper treatment. Some people use medications, and others talk with a specialist who deals with the eating disorder conditions.

Statistics of BED

A vast majority of males experience the BED condition, and it’s more common in females than males. According to an estimate, approximately 3% of the US adults comprising 4 million people are experiencing this condition.

Obese people are more at risk of developing BED conditions, but normal-weight people could also get this condition as well. Roundabout 2 out of every 3 people in the US are experiencing an obesity condition. Approximately 10-15% of the people that have mild obesity and they’re participating in the commercial weight loss program; have BED condition.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder 

Some of the main symptoms of binge eating disorder are as follows;

Physical Symptoms

  • Concentration and focusing difficulty
  • Non-specific types of gastrointestinal infections, stomach cramps, and other issues
  • Weight up-and-down, and fluctuation

Behavioral & Emotional Symptoms

  • Lower self-esteem feelings
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Guilty, depressed, and disgustful feelings after over-eating
  • Eating alone out of the ashamed feelings due to the quantity of food you eat
  • Following certain types of food rituals like not allowing others to touch your food, chewing excessively, and eating only a particular type of food
  • Disruption in normal routine eating behavior like eating food throughout the day, skipping meals, repetitive dieting, sporadic dieting,
  • Repetitive episodes of binge eating (eating a large quantity of food), limited control over the capability to stop eating
  • Checking yourself in the mirror frequently to find the perceived flaws
  • Having concerns about body shape and weight
  • Dieting repetitively
  • Withdrawing yourself from the social and friends activities
  • Following rituals for binge sessions and the particular lifestyle schedule
  • Hoarding and stealing food from strange places
  • Fearful of eating in the public spaces
  • Following any new type of diet plan like cutting out any particular type of food groups (becoming vegetarian, no dairy, no carbs, and no sugar)
  • Don’t feel comfortable eating in the company of others
  • Eating a large amount of food in a short time, you would see evidence of empty wrappers and a shortage of food

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

Researchers don’t know the exact causes of binge eating disorders. Some of the main factors that amplify the risk of BED condition are as follows;

  • Genetics: the sensitivity to dopamine levels is higher among people with BED conditions; it’s the chemical in the brain that causes the reward or pleasure feelings. It proves that the condition has a genetic element in it.
  • Gender: it is more common among females than males. Approximately 3.6% of the females and 2% of the males experience this condition at some point in their lives. It’s because of the underlying biological elements
  • Changes in Brain: the changes in the brain structure of the people with BED condition happen due to the higher responsiveness to the food level and lower self-control level
  • Body Size: BED condition is common among obese people; and 25-50% of the people that want weight loss surgery, they meet the diagnostic criteria of BED condition. The cause and effect of this condition results in the form of weight condition
  • Body Image: the negative body image is common among people with BED conditions. Overeating, dieting, and body dissatisfaction would amplify the development of this condition
  • Binge Eating: eating food of large quality (binge eating) is the first and foremost symptom of this condition, and it starts in the early teens and childhood years
  • Emotional Trauma: Any stressful events like a car accident, separation from a friend/family member, death, childhood bullying, or abuse would amplify the risk of developing this condition
  • Psychological Conditions: roundabout 80% of the people with BED condition experience other mental health conditions like substance abuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, depression, and phobias.

Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder 

The treatment of binge eating disorder isn’t a test of your willpower. Some of the main treatment plans for BED condition are as follows;


Doctors usually prescribe the medicines like lisdexamfetamine to suppress and control the desired level of binge eats. FDA has approved this drug to treat moderate to severe episodes of binge eating. You would require the assistance of a specialist or trained psychologist to work on the treatment plan.

It’s possible that you would need assistance in other conditions like anxiety or depression. Your doctor would prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medicines to treat the urge. Other medicines like naltrexone HCl/bupropion would help you to lose weight.

Therapy (CBT)

The focus of cognitive behavioral therapy is what you do and how you feel. It helps you to recognize your triggering factors and change your thoughts about eating.

Family Support

Your therapist would recommend family therapy in order to recognize the source of stress at home, and how they can help you in your treatment plan. If the family members are aware of the problem, they would offer support for the success of the treatment plan.

If there is a support group in the area, you should join such groups and network. It would help you to find support and share your feelings about what you’re going through with like-minded people.

Conclusion: What is Binge Eating Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is binge eating disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that BED condition could badly impact your life and health. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with the therapist in your area to work on the treatment plan.