Binge Eating Disorder

Definition

A person with binge eating disorder often eats an unusually large amount of food and feels that eating is out of control. Binge eating disorder often occurs with bulimia nervosa, another eating disorder that may also involve purging. In others, binge eating can happen without other eating disorders. For example, the person may feel upset about binge eating, but may not try to undo these feelings by vomiting, exercising, or taking laxatives.

Causes

It is not clear exactly what causes binge eating disorder. Since about half of people with binge eating disorder have a history of depression, it may be related to that condition. Studies also suggest that people with binge eating disorder may have other emotional problems, including low self-esteem, anger, and/or obsessive compulsive behavior.
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Depression may be a cause of binge eating disorder.
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Risk Factors

Binge eating disorder is more common in women. Other factors that may increase your chance of binge eating disorder include:
  • Obesity
  • Becoming overweight at a young age
  • Yo-yo dieting
  • History of depression, low self-esteem, and/or substance abuse
  • History of sexual abuse
  • Excess concern with body shape

Symptoms

Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:
  • Eating quickly
  • Eating until you are uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts when you are not hungry
  • Eating alone due to embarrassment
  • Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after eating

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