Say no to binge eating

By R. Khan
Tue, 02, 18

Binge Eating Disorder is a serious condition that not only affects your physical health but also your mental well-being. You! takes a look...


Binge Eating Disorder is a serious condition that not only affects your physical health but also your mental well-being. You! takes a look...

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating.

When you suffer through this disorder, you may feel 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 (BED), there’s treatment that can help. You! takes a look...


While the exact causes of BED are unknown, there are a variety of factors that are considered to influence the development of this disorder, such as genetics, biological factors, long-term dieting and psychological issues. Other factors that can increase the risk of developing this disorder include:

Family history: You’re much more likely to have an eating disorder if your parents or siblings have (or had) it, too. This may indicate that inherited genes increase the risk of developing an eating disorder.

Psychological issues: Most people who have binge-eating disorder feel negatively about themselves including their skills and accomplishments. Triggers for bingeing can include stress, poor body self-image, food and boredom.

Dieting: Many people with binge-eating disorder have a history of dieting - some have dieted to excess dating back to their childhood. Dieting or restricting calories during the day may trigger an urge to binge eat, especially if you have low self-esteem and symptoms of depression.

Age factor: Although people of any age can have binge-eating disorder, it often begins in the late teens or early 20s.


Most people with binge-eating disorder maybe overweight or obese, but you can be at your normal weight and still have BED. Considering that there is a fine line between BED and overeating, there are some behavioural and emotional signs that you need to watch out for.

A person eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as over a 2-hour period, isn’t normal. Also, one may continue to eat even when they’re uncomfortably full or not even hungry. Another symptom of BED includes eating rapidly during binge episodes while being alone or in secret, and feeling like your behaviour is out of control. This may induce feelings of depression, disgust, shame, guilt about your eating. Another sign may be, 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 even try to diet or eat normal meals. But restricting your diet may simply lead to more binge eating. The severity of this disorder is determined by how often episodes of bingeing occur during a week.

Furthermore, the consequences of binge eating disorder involve many physical, social, and emotional difficulties. Some of these complications may include cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and insomnia or sleep apnoea, hypertension, gallbladder disease, gastrointestinal difficulties muscle and/or joint pain. In terms of psychiatric disorders, they may include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and substance use disorders. Last but not least, your social life might also show the signs of this disorder specially when you might have problems functioning at work, personal life or in other situations causing social isolation.

When to see a doctor?

If you have any such symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. This disorder doesn’t really get better by itself. In fact, it may get worse if left untreated.

Speak to your family care doctor or a mental health provider about your symptoms and feelings. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to someone you trust about what you’re going through. A friend, loved one, teacher or relative can help you take the first steps to a successful treatment.


Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): A type of therapy aimed at helping individuals understand the thoughts and feelings that influence their behaviours.

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): A form of therapy in which the focus is on an individual’s relationships with family members and peers and the way they see themselves.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): A type of therapy that focuses on teaching individuals skills to cope with stress and regulate emotions.