Binge Eating

Binge eating is the practice of eating very large quantities of food–much more than is required to sustain life or receive adequate nutrition–in a short period of time.

What Is Binge Eating?

Binge eating is a common practice, and many people binge occasionally. It is often associated with emotional turmoil. For example, a person eating ice cream during a bad breakup has become a cliché. Eating contests also encourage binge eating, and many people tend to binge when they are distracted, such as when they are working or sitting in front of the television. The primary distinction between binge eating and snacking is that binge eaters eat much more than they need to feel full and may eat so much that they feel sick.

When binge eating becomes so common that it interferes with a person’s health or wellness, it can be a mental health condition called binge eating disorder. Bulimia, an eating disorder, is also associated with binge eating. People with bulimia frequently binge on large quantities of food and then purge by vomiting or using laxatives.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a recently created diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

  • Eating past the point of fullness
  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Eating in secret
  • Eating in response to emotional distress
  • Eating even when not hungry
  • Feeling ashamed or disgusted over eating habits
  • Health consequences such as obesity or heart problems due to overeating

Treatment for Binge Eating

There are a variety of treatments available for binge eating. Sometimes binge eating is a symptom of another problem such as chronic stress, depression, or anxiety. Therapy can help alleviate these problems and may relieve symptoms of binge eating. Some people with eating disorders enter inpatient treatment facilities, particularly if the binge eating has resulted in serious illness. Group therapy, individual therapy, and nutritional counseling are often components of treatment for binge eating.

References:

  1. Binge eating disorder – DSM – V. (n.d.). Castlewood Treatment Center. Retrieved from http://www.castlewoodtc.com/2012/01/binge-eating-disorder-dsm/
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2012, April 03). Binge-eating disorder. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/binge-eating-disorder/DS00608/DSECTION=symptoms

Last Updated: 08-4-2015

  • 2 comments
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  • Geraldine B.

    Geraldine B.

    December 19th, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    I am looking for a therapist in Natick, wellesley, framingham, Ma that dealings with eating disorder.

    Any suggestion

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    December 19th, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Hi Geraldine,

    If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, https://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: https://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Kind regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

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