Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Binge Eating Disorder

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Binge Eating Disorder

Have you ever eaten so much food that you felt sick? This is pretty common in American culture. For some individuals, though, it occurs regularly, and they feel like they can't control it.

  • What is a binge-eating disorder?
  • What are the criteria for binge-eating disorder?
  • What are the symptoms of the binge-eating disorder?
  • What are the risk factors for developing the binge-eating disorder?
  • What treatments are available for binge-eating disorder?

The Definition of Binge-Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are significant problems in the way a person views and consumes food. Global statistics show that at least 9% of the population is affected by an eating disorder. These disorders severely affect an individual’s everyday life and well-being. There are a total of six eating disorders, and they include:

  • Pica

  • Rumination disorder

  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

  • Anorexia nervosa

  • Bulimia nervosa

  • Binge-eating disorder

Of all of these eating disorders, binge-eating disorder is the most common type, and 47% of people diagnosed with an eating disorder have binge-eating disorder.

How does binge-eating disorder (BED) differ from other eating disorders? Those diagnosed with BED experience a wide array of symptoms. With eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, extreme cases of food restriction are a major factor; however, this is not present in BED. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by symptoms of purging after meals. BED doesn't always include purging behaviors. So what is BED?

Binge-eating disorder involves frequent, repeated episodes of uncontrollable eating involving large amounts of food.

The Criteria for Binge-Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder, a clinician with a clipboard talking to a patient sitting on a couch, StudySmarterDiagnosis and criteria, Pexels.com

This eating disorder differs from the others disorders due to a lack of symptoms like purging or excessive exercise. Because binge-eating disorder does not have these distinct symptoms, it can be hard to tell if someone is just binge-eating or qualifies for the diagnosis of binge-eating disorder.

Think of a time you went to a buffet and stacked your plate full of cookies, pies, chicken, and everything in between. This could be due to many reasons. Maybe you were getting your money's worth, craving all of the different food varieties, or super hungry after a long day. This binge doesn't necessarily mean you have an eating disorder.

To avoid making over-generalizations about chronic disorders, criteria for a diagnosis are used to determine whether or not an individual has a serious condition that should be addressed and treated.

Frequency

One of the most important factors to analyze when diagnosing a binge-eating disorder is the frequency the individual is experiencing binge eating episodes. If someone is having at least one binge eating episode per week over a three-month period, they may be experiencing BED. Individuals with a severe form of binge eating disorder can experience these episodes 14 or more times per week. These episodes are highly detrimental to their overall health and ability to function in daily life.

Behaviors

The context of the binge itself is a strong indicator of whether someone may have a binge-eating disorder. BED is characterized by eating abnormally large amounts of food within around two hours. During the binge, someone with the disorder would report feelings like loss of control when eating, continuing to eat past hunger satiation, uncomfortable fullness, and feelings of intense guilt and shame following the binge. Other behaviors include unusually rapid eating and eating in secret to avoid feelings of embarrassment in front of others.

Unique Criteria

How do you know if it's BED or another kind of eating disorder? Some people may not even realize they have an eating disorder due to the absence of certain symptoms. In bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, the act of purging (vomiting or using diuretics), excessively working out, or restricting food intake are common symptoms.

Binge-eating disorder, however, does not have to include any of these symptoms. Despite how common it is, it can be harder to spot BED, and it may even go undiagnosed. Another reason BED is hard to identify is that it is common for those with BED to hide their struggle and isolate themselves during binging episodes.

The Symptoms of Binge-Eating Disorder

Someone diagnosed with binge-eating disorder experiences symptoms that impact their mental health and well-being. These symptoms can also impact their social life and relationships.

These symptoms include:

  • Eating abnormally large amounts of food

  • Secretive eating behavior

  • Food-associated guilt, low self-esteem, and negative self-image

  • Loss of control during binging episodes

  • Rapid eating spells

  • Consuming food past feeling hungry or full

  • Feelings of guilt, shame, and depression following a binge

Joey tells his doctor he has been struggling with binging for the past year. About twice a week when he comes home from school, he usually eats whatever he can find in the fridge and takes it to his room so no one will see. He says that he keeps eating even when he is not hungry anymore and feels like he can't control how much he eats. Following the binge, he feels horrible, but he always ends up doing the same thing again another day. Joey may be struggling with a binge-eating disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder, a man holding his stomach with a big stack of waffles in the background, StudySmarterEating past fullness, Pixabay.com

These symptoms are extremely detrimental to the individual diagnosed with BED, and they usually face adverse impacts on their social life, self-image, confidence, mental health, and physiological health. The symptom of secretive eating behavior, in particular, may keep the individual from eating in social settings or in public without feeling embarrassed or anxious.

A person diagnosed with BED may feel food-associated guilt which, in turn, can seriously complicate their general relationship with food and eating. Something that many enjoy and think of as a positive experience is experienced completely differently by someone with BED. Binging episodes happen in a cycle, so it is difficult to achieve a positive relationship with food.

Many people that are diagnosed with binge-eating disorder often eat past fullness and at extremely fast rates. Due to this uncontrollable and unhealthy pattern of eating, some people may be at risk of certain health issues and obesity. Of course, not everyone that is obese has binge-eating disorder and not everyone with BED will experience obesity. This correlational observation, however, is something to look out for in the presence of this particular eating disorder, since it can pose a serious threat to physical and emotional health.

Risk Factors for Binge-Eating Disorder

With such a complex disorder, there are many different health risks and mental health issues associated with BED. Due to the nature of the disorder, binge-eating can result in weight-related problems such as being overweight or obese. Other illnesses have been linked to BED as a risk factor, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Those struggling with an eating disorder may also experience other mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Available evidence suggests that many eating disorders stem from emotional deficits in an individual’s mental health. One study, in particular, supports the idea that people diagnosed with binge-eating disorder may use binge eating as a way to cope with negative emotions.

Current research on the main cause of binge-eating disorders is limited, but possible causes include several social, emotional, and genetic factors. One study found a gene associated with binge-eating disorder that may increase risk. This means that certain individuals may be more vulnerable to developing BED, especially if someone in their family has a history of BED.

The National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders states that 28% to 74% of the risk for eating disorders are genetic factors.

Treatment for Binge-Eating Disorder

Treating a binge-eating disorder can be difficult since there are many possible causes and aspects that are unique to each individual. Eating disorders tend to have high comorbidity, which means that they are likely to be present in addition to another mental disorder. Psychological evaluations are necessary to determine the best approach to treatment.

Psychological treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy to support those struggling with the disorder. Both of these treatments are effective at treating BED in research studies, and they are also used to treat other mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

One university study conducted on the effectiveness of three BED treatments involved a randomized trial of 205 male and female participants. Results of the study suggest that both interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are the most effective in treating BED (Wilson et. al., 2010).

Binge-eating Disorder - Key takeaways

  • Eating disorders are significant problems in the way a person views and consumes food. Out of the six eating disorders, binge-eating disorder (BED) is the most common type.
  • Binge-eating disorderinvolves frequent, repeated episodes of uncontrollable eating involving large amounts of food.
    • One of the most important factors of BED is the frequency the individual is experiencing binge eating episodes.
    • BED is characterized by eating abnormally large amounts of food within around two hours.
    • During the binge, someone with the disorder would report feelings like loss of control when eating, continuing to eat past hunger satiation, uncomfortable fullness, and feelings of intense guilt and shame following the binge.
    • Other behaviors include unusually rapid eating and eating in secret to avoid feelings of embarrassment in front of others.
  • Eating disorders tend to have high comorbidity, which means that they are likely to be present in addition to another mental disorder.
  • Two effective treatments for BED are cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Binge Eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder involves frequent, repeated episodes of uncontrollable eating involving large amounts of food.

Yes, binge eating is a type of eating disorder.

Possible causes of binge-eating disorder include several social, emotional, and genetic factors.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy can help with a binge-eating disorder.

People generally develop a binge-eating disorder gradually over time. 

Final Binge Eating Disorder Quiz

Question

What is the global percentage of the population affected by an eating disorder?

Show answer

Answer

Nine percent

Show question

Question

Binge eating disorder is the most common type of eating disorder. True or False?

Show answer

Answer

True.

Show question

Question

Define an eating disorder.

Show answer

Answer

 a disorder including a pathological interference of food-related behavior (APA 2007).

Show question

Question

Name the three types of eating disorders.

Show answer

Answer

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder

Show question

Question

How does binge-eating disorder differ from other eating disorders?


Show answer

Answer

BED is different due to the lack of symptoms like purging or excessive exercise

Show question

Question

Which is a symptom of BED?

  1. Excessive exercise
  2. purging; vommiting
  3. Eating large quantities of food discretely

Show answer

Answer

c. Eating large quantities of food discretely

Show question

Question

Definition of binge eating disorder.

Show answer

Answer

 ongoing and discrete events of uncontrolled eating of irregularly large amounts of food

Show question

Question

How is the presence of binge-eating disorder determined?

Show answer

Answer

By determining the presence of  symptoms in combination with the frequency of these issues over time 

Show question

Question

List risk factors of binge eating disorder.

Show answer

Answer

 Binge-eating can result in weight-related problems such as being overweight and obesity

Show question

Question

Those struggling with eating disorders may also experience comorbidity of mental health issues. True or False?


Show answer

Answer

True.

Show question

Question

What is the cause of binge eating disorder?

Show answer

Answer

possible causes of binge-eating include several social, emotional, and even genetic factors. 

Show question

Question

 28 to 74 percent of the risk for eating disorders comes from genetic factors. True or false?


Show answer

Answer

True.

Show question

Question

What are the most effective treatments for binge eating disorders?

Show answer

Answer

cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy

Show question

Question

Name the eating disorder that has a symptom of purging after eating

Show answer

Answer

Bulimia nervosa

Show question

Question

Name the eating disorder that involves restrictive eating behavior.

Show answer

Answer

Anorexia nervosa

Show question

Question

What is the most common type of eating disorder?

Show answer

Answer

Binge eating disorder 

Show question

Question

Binge eating disorder involves frequent, repeated episodes of uncontrollable eating involving large amounts of food followed by purging behavior.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

James has been experiencing episodes of binge eating to the point where he feels sick afterwards. James usually feels guilty after his binges and makes himself throw up. Does James have Binge eating disorder?

Show answer

Answer

No. 

Show question

Question

People with binge eating disorder are always obese.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

People with binge eating disorder usually eat in secret out of embarrassment. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

Binge eating disorder is hard to diagnose due to the secretive eating pattern that many people with this disorder exhibit. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

A person diagnosed with BED may feel food-associated guilt.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

People diagnosed with BED often eat past being full and at an extremely fast rate.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What are some illnesses that have been linked to BED?

Show answer

Answer

Heart disease

Show question

Question

People struggling with BED do not develop mental disorders.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Studies show that people with BED eat to cope with negative emotions. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

Select possible causes of BED from the list below. 

Show answer

Answer

Genetics 

Show question

Question

What percentage of the risk of developing an eating disorder comes from genetics? 

Show answer

Answer

0%

Show question

Question

Binge eating disorder has a high comorbidity rate. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

What form of therapy would be the most effective in treating BED?

Show answer

Answer

Cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy 

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Binge Eating Disorder quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Just Signed up?

Yes
No, I'll do it now

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.