Everything You Need to Know About Binge Eating Disorder and Treatment


You may have heard the term binge eating disorder (BED) before, but there is a lot of misinformation out there about this disorder. A binge-eating disorder is more than just eating past the point of feeling full, it can cause destructive compulsive patterns of behavior that lead to feelings of guilt and shame.

It can also create physical challenges for those with the disorder including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Binge eating disorder can create a variety of emotional, physical and interpersonal issues. Most people with binge eating disorder require treatment to stop the cycle. Keep reading to learn more about binge eating disorder including symptoms and treatment.  

What Are the Symptoms?

Binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder that can lead to feelings of worthlessness, embarrassment, loss of self-control and shame. The symptoms of binge eating disorder often include:

  • Eating a lot of food in a specific amount of time (such as eating an unusually large amount in one hour)
  • Eating quickly during binge eating episodes
  • Eating even when you are not hungry
  • Eating far past the point of feeling full
  • Feeling as though you are not in control of your eating
  • Eating secretly
  • Feeling depressed, guilty, ashamed and helpless
  • Trying to diet or control eating habits with no success
  • Being overweight or obese

Binge eating episodes may vary depending on the severity of the disorder or other life stressors which may exacerbate the issue.

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Options

There are many treatment options available for those who struggle with binge eating disorder. The goal of treatment is to reduce binge eating, curb impulses and achieve healthy eating habits. Most people who receive treatment for binge eating disorder will also require treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. A few of the most common treatment options for binge eating disorder include:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy which is also commonly referred to as talk therapy can help those suffering from binge eating disorder by giving them a safe place to discuss their feelings and struggles. It can provide information about how to replace unhealthy eating habits with healthy ones. There are different types of psychotherapy that can be beneficial to those struggling with binge eating disorder including”
      • Cognitive behavioral therapy
      • Dialectal behavior therapy
      • Interpersonal therapy
  • Medications
    • Medications can help to treat the symptoms of binge eating disorder. These medications are approved by the FDA to treat those who have moderate or severe binge eating disorder. It is important to note that medications do have side effects and should be only used if the Doctor has decided that the benefits outweigh the risks and potential side effects. Medications should only be used under the guidance of the doctor.

Questions and Answers:

Q: What causes binge eating disorder?

A: The exact cause of binge eating disorder is not known, but there are many factors which may play a role in developing the disorder. These factors include genetics, biological factors, excessive dieting and mental health disorders.

Q: How is binge eating disorder diagnosed?

A: Binge eating disorder is diagnosed by a medical provider. The medical provider may use a psychological exam to diagnose. A truthful discussion about eating habits will also help to diagnose the disorder. The doctor may also recommend a variety of tests to check other disorder-related health problems including blood tests, urine tests, and a physical examination.

Q: Are there at-home remedies for binge eating disorder?

A: It is important that those with binge eating disorder seek professional medical assistance. Positive lifestyle changes including eating a well-balanced breakfast, eating nutritious foods and avoiding dieting can all prove to be beneficial.

Q: Should those with binge eating disorder try dieting?

A: Dieting can exacerbate the binge eating cycle and should only be done if it is supervised and recommended by a medical professional.

Q: Who should I talk to if I think I suffer from binge eating disorder?

A: If you believe that you are suffering from binge eating disorder you should make an appointment with your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.