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Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by an often secretive cycle of binge eating.

Primary Features

Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by eating a large amount of food and feeling out of control while eating (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).

The binge eating episodes are characterized by at least 3 of the following:

  • Eating much more rapidly than normal
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
  • Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating.
  • The person is distressed by his or her binge eating.

Associated Features

Physical Characteristics

  • Possible weight gain and/or obesity
  • Abdominal pain; stomach upset
  • Weight fluctuations due to experimentation with various diet plans
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Fatigue

Behavioral Characteristics

  • Binge eating
  • Trying numerous diet plans
  • Secretive eating
  • Intense food cravings
  • Eating very small portions in public

Emotional and Attitudinal Characteristics

  • Tendency to binge when experiencing negative emotions (e.g., anger, boredom)
  • Feels of disgust, depression, and/or guilt after bingeing
  • Chronic, mild depressive and/or anxiety symptoms (at times, symptoms may worsen)
  • Tendency to be overly focused on other’s struggles (often in the role of “rescuer,” “peacemaker” or “people-pleaser”)
  • Difficulty identifying and expressing negative emotions (e.g., anger)
  • Preoccupation with body weight and shape
  • Dissatisfaction with body size
  • Low self-esteem; self-loathing
  • Attributes failures to size & fantasizes about rewards of thinness