Binge Eating Disorder

Reviewed/Revised Jan 2024
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What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is when you often eat large amounts of food very quickly (binge). When you're eating, you feel unable to stop. After binge eating, you feel very upset because you couldn't control yourself. You usually eat so much that you become overweight.

Is binge eating disorder the same as bulimia or anorexia nervosa?

No. Binge eating disorder is not the same thing as other eating disorders, called bulimia and anorexia.

  • Bulimia nervosa—you binge eat but make yourself throw up afterwards so you're usually a normal weight

  • Anorexia nervosa—you don't eat enough food and sometimes make yourself throw up after eating so you're too thin

  • Binge eating disorder—you binge eat but don't make yourself throw up and are usually overweight

Who can have binge eating disorder?

Both men and women can have binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is more common than other eating disorders in men.

People with binge eating disorder are often older than people with other eating disorders.

What are the symptoms of binge eating disorder?

  • Binge eating and feeling out of control

  • Eating until uncomfortably full

  • Eating large amounts of food without being hungry

  • Eating alone because of shame

  • Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating

How can doctors tell if I have binge eating disorder?

Doctors can tell you have binge eating disorder if you have the typical symptoms and behaviors and you:

  • Binge eat once a week for at least 3 months

  • Feel you can’t control your eating

How do doctors treat binge eating disorder?

Doctors may suggest:

  • Therapy to help stop binge eating

  • Weight-loss programs or weight-loss medicines to help control weight

  • A type of antidepressant medicine to help stop binge eating and control weight

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