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Binge eating disorder (BED)

Binge eating disorder (BED) is one of the newest eating disorders recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and is the most common eating disorder in the United States. It is characterized by recurrent, uncontrolled episodes of consuming significantly copious amounts of food in a short period of time, often in “secret”. With similar characteristics to bulimia, except without the behavior of purging. It occurs at least once a week, on average for over three months.

During these episodes an individual may engage in the following:

BEHAVIOR SYMPTOMS

  • Eating large amount of food without purging behaviors when not hungry
  • Sense of lack of control with eating and around food
  • Self-medicating with food
  • Hoarding/Hiding food
  • Thoughts of shame and guilt after a binge episode
  • Food rituals
  • Prefer to eat alone & sometimes a fear of eating in public
  • Frequently dieting
  • Poor Self esteem

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

  • Eating until uncomfortable, may even feel sick
  • Weight gain/fluctuations
  • Stomach cramps
  • Difficulty concentrating

COMMON HEALTH CONCERNS

  • Overweight or obese
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Increased lipid levels (including cholesterol)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Joint/Muscle pain
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gastrointestinal complications

Coexisting disorders may be present in a diagnosis of BED. Insure a complete evaluation for the eating disorder, to identify any co-morbid/coexisting disorders.

Psychiatric conditions commonly co-occurring with may be combined with:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Panic/Anxiety disorders
  • Personality Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse disorder


Overeating is a struggle many Americans face, however recurring binge eating is less common, much more severe, and correlated with extreme physical and psychological concerns. Approximately 40% of individuals pursuing weight loss treatment can be clinically diagnosed with BED. Unfortunately, since the underlying issues in most of these pursuits are not treated, the cycle of bingeing continues.

Although these are typical symptoms please note, not all must be present to exhibit the severity of the eating disorder.


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