Binge Eating Disorder 

An obese woman surrounded by food, getting ready to eat a hamburger and then the rest of the food. She is bingingBinge Eating

The binge eating disorder is about excess consumption of calories without the purging and excessive use of compensatory mechanisms such as laxatives, diuretics and excessive exercise seen with bulimia nervosa. 

Typical the person with the binge eating disorder has a BMI above 30 and is obese in contrast to the normal weight seen in bulimics. 

The binge eater is not an ordinary obese person. In comparison to other obese person, the binge eater often has comorbid conditions such as mood disorders or personality disorders that go with the eating disorder.

The binge eater also usually has severe medical conditions not often seen in the non-binge eating obese person. This difference, is why people in fact do believe the binge eating disorder is in fact a clinical disorder. The disorder has been recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). It is defined as an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and is a sub-category of obesity. 

Binge eating does not affect everyone similarly. Women more often than men report having trouble with binge eating. Mexican American women, compared to European American women don't get as distressed over their body's image. This explains why Mexican American women, seek help for their eating disorder a lot less often than European Women which seek help at a rate four times greater than Mexican American women. Of the women that seek help, only about 50% of them are diagnosed correctly with an eating disorder. 

You can be considered to have a binge eating disorder if you fulfill three of the following criteria: 1) Eating too rapidly, 2) feeling uncomfortably full after eating, 3) eating without the physical feeling of hunger, 4) eating alone because of embarrassment to how much you eat, and 5) feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or guilty after overeating.

Chances that you have a binge eating disorder increase if you were obese as a child or have or are receiving inappropriate comments about shape, weight and eating behavior. 

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Binge Eating Disorder & Emotions 

It has been found several times that emotions are a common cause of binge eating. Particularly, the emotion of anger is the most causative factor of binge eating. Other emotions of concern are frustration, anxiety and sadness/depression which along with anger account for 95% of emotions before the onset of a binge. On the other hand, feelings of satisfaction are believed to lead to non-binge eating behavior. 

Negative feelings also are prominent in the binge eating disordered people. It is believed that binge eating people have a more difficult time identifying and expressing their feelings which may lead to a more negative emotional state due to their inability to be assertive. Perhaps assertiveness training could help one with a binge eating disorder. The binge eating behavior is believed to provide an escape to the overall negative emotional state of the binge eater. 

It has also been suggested that binge eaters have a more difficult time with everyday hassles than normal people. This could mean the binge eater is under more stress than usual. It could also mean that the binge eater has a sub-optimal coping ability to everyday hassles. 

In a two study group participants, in those that were diagnosed with binge eating, they had significantly more provocative events leading up to their diagnoses. Such events are relocation, bereavement, change in family structure, end of relationships, work-related stress, physical abuse and harsh comments about weight, shape and eating. There appears to be an association between these types of events and then a subsequent diagnoses of the binge eating disorder. 

From a therapeutic belief, learning and focusing on skills that help the disordered with difficult emotions and interpersonal problems could be relieving. 

› Binge Eating Disorder


1. Cachelin FM, Regan PC, Binge Eating: What We Can Learn From Multi-Ethnic Community Samples. Nova Science Publishers; 2009:14-19. 

2. Degortes D, Santonastaso P, Zanett T, et al. Stressful Life Events and Binge Eating Disorder. Eur. Eat. Disorders. Rev; 2014(22):378-382. 

3. Zeeck A, Stelzer N, Linster HW, et al. Emotion and Eating in Binge Eating Disorder and Obesity. Eur. Eat Disorders Rev; 2011(19):426-437. 

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