Binge Eating Disorder

Also known as: BED, overeating, eating disorder

What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating is a type of eating disorder where abnormally large amounts of food are eaten in a single sitting. Youth typically have several episodes, at least once a week for many months, eat secretly and cannot stop themselves doing it.

What causes binge eating disorder? 

Genetics and psychological problems appear to play a role in a binge eating disorder occurring. The disorder also tends to run in families.

Episodes of binge eating may be triggered by a variety of feelings such as:

  • Stress
  • Sadness
  • Boredom
  • Anxiety

What are the symptoms of binge eating disorder?

A person with a binge eating disorder tends to eat alone, secretly and without control even when full or not hungry. There may be missed meals, or irregular eating patterns with eating occurring late at night.

After the binge, the child/adolescent frequently has feelings of shame, guilty, stress or depression. Binge eating followed by vomiting is known as binge-purge syndrome or bulimia nervosa is a different disorder.

What are binge eating disorder care options?

Children and adolescents affected with binge eating disorder may be treated with psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, family training and in some cases medications.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: January 29, 2021 03:46 PM

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