Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating.
Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, excessive overeating that feels out of control and becomes a regular occurrence crosses the line to binge-eating disorder.
When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be embarrassed about overeating and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating. If you have binge-eating disorder, treatment can help.
Most people with binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese, but you may be at a normal weight. Behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of binge-eating disorder include:
• Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as over a two-hour period
• Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control
• Eating even when you’re full or not hungry
• Eating rapidly during binge episodes
• Eating until you’re uncomfortably full
• Frequently eating alone or in secret
• Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty or upset about your eating
• Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss
Unlike a person with bulimia, after a binge, you don’t regularly compensate for extra calories eaten by vomiting, using laxatives or exercising excessively. You may try to diet or eat normal meals. But restricting your diet may simply lead to more binge eating.
The severity of binge-eating disorder is determined by how often episodes of binging occur during a week.
You may develop psychological and physical problems related to binge eating.
Complications that may be caused by binge-eating disorder include:
• Poor quality of life
• Problems functioning at work, with your personal life or in social situations
• Social isolation
• Medical conditions related to obesity, such as joint problems, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and some sleep-related breathing disorders
Psychiatric disorders that are often linked with binge-eating disorder include:
• Bipolar disorder
• Substance use disorders