Understanding Binge-Eating Disorders

There is a major difference between occasional overeating and binge-eating disorder. Binging, or compulsive overeating, is probably something we have all experienced at one point or another in our lives.   This disorder however is when this binging becomes a typical habit and sufferers regularly overeat junk food like those high in fat and sugar.  


This binging is associated with emotional distress, shame and depression.  Physically, bingers make themselves sick from the amount of food they consume in one sitting.  At times, this overeating leads to vomiting.  Binge eating can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.  Food is used as a coping mechanism in this case.

Binge eating disorder: cycles of binge eating (eating excessive amounts of food in short periods of time)


• Frequent cycles of eating excessive amounts of food

• Feeling unable to control yourself while binge eating 

• Feeling extremely guilty or shameful about binge eating 

• Eating when not hungry, eating until feeling physically uncomfortable, eating alone as a result of feelings of guilt and shame

Binge Eating – Binge eating resembles bulimia as it also involves uncontrolled eating of a large amount of food in a short period of time, but without purging the food.  Therefore, they are often obese and have much difficulty in losing weight or keeping it off.

Signs and symptoms of binge eating

·         Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without purging at least once a week for 3 months.

·         Feels out of control during the binge eating episode.

·         Feels extremely guilty or shameful after binge eating.

·         Eats extremely fast.

·         Eating beyond feeling full.

·         Eating large amounts of food when not hungry.

·         They don’t purge of get rid of the food they’ve eaten by throwing up or over-exercising.

Treatment for eating disorders

Eating disorders, as hard as it is for most of us to understand why or how a person develops them, can harm a person both emotionally and physically.  Eating disorders usually do not go away by themselves – they are not “just a fad” or a phase someone is going through.  Ignoring the signs of an eating disorder can lead to a chronic condition that is debilitating and possibly life-threatening. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, seek help right away.  The earlier they are diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance of a full recovery.   Treatment usually involves some form of psychotherapy or psychological counseling along with tailored and individualized medical and nutritional needs.