© Copyright Select Healthy Mind 2023. All Rights Reserved

<<<Return to main article


As with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or BED, also comes with its own set of causes, symptoms, and effects differing from those of other eating disorders. While more like bulimia nervosa, BED is still its own separate disorder defined by an inability to stop binge eating in reaction to several situations and can take over the daily activities of a person's life.

Definition of BED

There are times when we all tend to overeat and end up feeling nauseous after we are done. There is nothing peculiar about this and it is a normal occurrence. Unfortunately, there are people who will experience this at least once per week for three consecutive months, defining them as victims of Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

The victims of this condition often find it difficult to control themselves and will intake vast amounts of food within a short span of time for instance within the space of two hours.

The victim has no control and cannot stop their actions, even when they are at the point at which they feel they are full and uncomfortable. The victims of BED often become obese since they neither vomit after eating, nor exercise, as is the case with anorexia and bulimia nervosa.

Reasons for Developing the Disorder

A person suffering from this type of disorder may find eating comforting in the short run, but when the reality checks in they start regretting their actions and may experience hatred towards themselves. There are many reasons why people become victims of binge eating. Some resort to it as a means of hiding emotions and may want to use it to compensate the problem of feeling empty or unsatisfied. People often comfort eat in times of distress, anxiety, or sadness, using food to make themselves feel better.

Bulimia VS BED


- Both sufferers of bulimia and BED eat substantial amounts of food quickly over a brief time span.

- The victims will feel helpless and find it difficult to stop eating.

- In the two cases, the victims will always punish themselves because of the guilt they feel, and the unforgivable acts think they have committed, because of their self- loathing behaviour. Both disorders are physically and mentally damaging and are always associated with an obsession with eating.


- People suffering from bulimia will always attempt to clear the system and get rid of the calories they have consumed, often through vomiting after eating.

- They engage in excessive exercising, induced vomiting, using diuretics, and fasting to reduce weight gain. They also often use laxatives (stool softeners) which increases bowel movements.

- Victims of BED, however, do not engage in activities that help remove the excess food from their systems and often become obese as a result.

- BED victims have unique eating habits; they eat at a fast rate and cannot quantify the amount of food they eat or the taste of it. They will continue eating regardless of whether they are hungry or not, even at the point they feel they are full.

The victims are always embarrassed and guilty after engaging in binge eating and will want to keep it as a secret and try to hide themselves and the evidence of their actions, so they often have meals and wrappers in hidden corners.

Risks Associated with BED

The health problems associated with the disorder include anxiety, digestive system problems, depression, and problems with both the joints and muscles. The patient is also exposed to the risk of cardiac arrest, stroke, arthritis, and kidney failure, due to the excess weight they often put on.

According to the DSM -5, which was published in May 2013, BED was identified as one of the eating disorders that could be diagnosed.

- Nearly 40% of victims are male, while 60% are women.

- Victims of the disorder consist of people from different countries, races, and religions, and further research must be done to help find out why and how the problem affects so many races and ethnic groups.

- Although people who are of an average weight may develop BED, the problem is more common in people who are obese. However, this does not necessarily mean that obese persons are the only ones struggling with the disorder. Individuals who experienced a distressing childhood life, including being bullied, death of loved ones, body shaming, and those with numerous family problems, have high tendencies of developing the disorder compared to those who have not had these experiences. - BED has shown some genetic signs and can inherited.


BED could be treated using pharmacotherapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and interpersonal therapy (IPT).

People suffering from the problem often do not feel that their problem is understood and that it comes with a social stigma. To ensure that no victim of this disorder is deprived of support and treatment, it is important that everyone should make the effort and ensure that the public is made aware that the disorder is just like any other disease and that treatment is required.

Symptoms, Signs, and Effects of BED

- People suffering from BED will usually consume copious amounts of food in a brief time span.

- Victims of the condition often hide food and empty packets and wrappers to hide the condition from those around them and will eat in secret to avoid tipping anyone off as to their problem.

- The victims will often attempt to wear loose and oversized clothing because they are ashamed of their actions and do not want the public to see the effect of overeating on their bodies.

- The disorder can cause patients to restrict themselves and engage in unorthodox activities, such as dieting and fasting.

- They also plan to create time when they can indulge in binge eating.

- The victim’s body weight will often repeatedly fluctuate. The weight tends to move from a normal to moderate weight, to severely obese. Nearly all people who suffer from the condition are overweight since they do not indulge in activities that can help eliminate the excess food they consume. When people suffering from BED try to diet, they often do not get the desired results.

- The victims have habits of eating very little or not eating at all when in a group of people.

- The victims who engage in the self-destructive habit will try to eat normally when in the company of people but will overeat when they believe that no one is watching them. The victims will avoid gatherings meetings because they are worried that they may not be acknowledged and accepted by people attending the function.  

- They often feel they do not match up to the standards of society regarding their weight and have low esteem. The victims are often quite sensitive about topics regarding body weight and appearance and will avoid any conversation on the subject matter.

- They instead get depressed or upset when people discuss weight and image in their presence.  

- They may suffer from anxiety and depression and are even at risk of suicide and self-harm

- The victims struggle with a myriad of diseases such as cancer, kidney problems, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular, kidney failure, stroke, muscle and joint pain, gastrointestinal problems. They also suffer from high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

- The patients will find it difficult to sleep at night, since they often suffer from insomnia or sleep apnoea.

- Getting short of breath is also another common sign of this disorder, as is getting tired quickly and finding it difficult to move around. E r"

- Also, most women who suffer from this disorder have issues regarding their menstrual cycles.

- An individual who feels powerless and placed on the table is likely suffering from some form of BED.

- The victim’s sense of control could be inhibited and they may not be able stop eating even after they are full and feel uncomfortable.

- The victims often lack or have a reduced sex drive, most commonly because of the shame they feel over their body and their low self-esteem, which results due to their eating habits.

- The binge—eating phase can be most obviously observed, since the sufferer usually eats at a fast rate, continuing even when they are full.

- One of the main symptoms of the disorder includes being depressed, disgusted, and feeling guilty after engaging in binge eating. Normally the victim will feel distressed because of their actions (binge eating) and most of them are short-tempered and will often experience excessive moodiness and anger.

- These people will likely feel they are worthless and will remain unsatisfied, regardless of the food they eat.

- They feel embarrassed and ashamed after they binge eat, as they have experienced a lack of control over their own actions. In some cases, they may feel upset over their behaviour and will attempt to gain relief from these negative emotions only through eating more, which creates a vicious cycle that is extremely hard to break free from. The victim will go into an auto pilot mode as soon as they start engaging in binge eating they will often feel numb towards their actions and continue eating without even knowing what kind of food they are eating and how It tastes. The relief they feel when eating comes from the action, rather than the specific food they ingest.

There are certain types of personality and thought patterns that are connected or linked to this condition.

- The victims will tend to overeat without considering how uncomfortable they feel and will go through several phases, including being unable to eat.

They find it difficult to strike a balance and flexibility in their eating habits and desire to regain their self-control so that they do not feel powerless and weak when food is placed in front of them.

Those suffering from BED often cannot open up and talk about the disease and will not allow others to become aware of their problem, needs, and feelings. Another conspicuous sign that develops in the victim is a tendency towards perfectionism. They are thought and seen to be critical about other people and themselves.

- They bestow on themselves very high standards of performance and often will be overly concerned with what other people are thinking about them.

- BED sufferers commonly work hard to make other people happy without much thought of themselves.

Other Notable Effects

The disorder can seriously affect the victim in several other ways. Women lose confidence, are unable to control the calories they consume, and are over conscious of themselves. These are serious side effects which can impact negatively on the victim's career, life, and relationships. If the sufferers are women, the effect becomes severe. The disorder may lead to depression and substance abuse. When a patient is faced with such a disorder, it makes it hard to understand their emotions and initiates recurrent binging.

<<<Return to main article

Binge Eating Disorder