What is Binge Eating Disorder?

People with binge eating disorder often eat very large amounts of food (sometimes between 10,000 and 20,000 calories per binge) in a short space of time, even when they are not hungry. The binges usually take place in private, with the person eating very quickly and feeling unable to stop.

During the binge, the person feels they have no control over themselves, and after, they experience feelings of extreme fullness together with feelings of guilt and disgust.

As with all eating disorders, people with binge eating disorder use food to cope with difficult or painful emotions. They become caught up in a vicious cycle in which they use food and bingeing to comfort/soothe themselves, however this eventually leads to them experiencing feelings of guilt, disgust and self-hatred. This leaves them feeling more depressed, and so therefore more likely to turn to food again to escape those feelings. For this reason, binge eating disorder is often associated with obesity.

What are the signs of Binge Eating Disorder?

Individuals with Binge Eating Disorder experience feelings of guilt, disgust and embarrassment, and therefore most of the binging occurs in secret.

Some signs to look out for include:

  • Always on or off diets
  • Always going “to diet tomorrow”
  • Large weight gain
  • Disappearance of food
  • Eating normally around others but binging when alone
  • Inability to stop eating or control what they are eating
  • Hoarding/hiding food to eat when alone
  • Finding wrappers hidden behind chairs, under beds etc.
  • Weight gain when appearing to eat sensibly
  • Depression and moodiness
  • Erratic eating habits e.g. missing meals
  • Feeling guilty, depressed and disgusted after binging

What are the dangers of Binge Eating Disorder?

People suffering from Binge Eating Disorder often experience the same health problems as people who are diagnosed as being clinically obese, such as:

  • Obesity – person continually gains weight due to the frequent and highly calorific binges
  • High cholesterol and heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis – due to the extra strain being put on the joints
  • High blood pressure – due to arteries becoming clogged with fatty deposits
  • Type II diabetes – the body becomes unable to produce insulin due to constant high-sugar binges
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Severe depression


Although there are very serious medical complications which can result from all types of eating disorders, the good news is that almost all are completely reversible upon the person becoming weight restored and nutritionally healthy.

Other eating disorders