What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

· November 7, 2015

When no one is looking, she goes to her best friend: the pantry. Chocolate, cookies, potato chips…everything goes. She eats anxiously, quickly, greedily. When she’s finished, she never vomits. She just feels great remorse and guilt for having eaten this way.

She’s insecure and needs to be skinny to feel pretty. She’s been on diets over and over again, starving herself. Her body is a prison, and her worst enemy is herself.

When she gets home and takes off her heels, she looks in the mirror and feels a deep sadness that can only be soothed by not eating or eating too much. She’s fallen into a spiral she doesn’t know how to climb out of. It’s her biggest secret.


The tale we just told could be about a person suffering from binge eating disorder. This disorder is affecting more and more people every day, but it’s difficult to diagnose.

It’s usually suffered more by women than men. And it tends to affect people who are overweight and often constantly subject themselves to very restrictive diets. It is also a much more common disorder than anorexia or bulimia.

Signs of binge eating disorder

  • The person quickly consumes a large amount of food (binges). They eat though they’re not hungry, until they feel full or even lousy. The state of anxiety prior to the binge is to blame for this behavior.
  • They always do it secretly due to fear or shame. At night, when no one is home, after a moment of high emotional stress, etc.
  • Most of all, they eat when they’re under pressure or feel psychologically weak.
  • During or after these binges, they are filed with a great feeling of guilt and/or shame.
  • Unlike other eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, there are no methods of purging after the events. For example: throwing up, doing exercise, fasting, etc.
  • It tends to affect people who suffer from stress, anxiety or depression. This is usually associated with a great dissatisfaction with their physique and weight, low self-esteem, or other kinds of emotional problems.
  • People who suffer from binge eating usually have abnormal eating habits with frequent fluctuations in weight.
  • They have the constant feeling of having to follow strict diets in order to lose weight. The more strict the diet, the higher the ratio of chaos and disorder.
  • If the person performs this behavior for at least 2 days a week for a period of a minimum of 6 months, they could be suffering from binge eating disorder.

How can we help someone suffering from binge eating disorder? 

If you suspect that a friend, family member or even you could be suffering from this disorder, the best thing to do is to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist as soon as possible.

They can help you with individual and/or group therapies that combine nutritional orientation and psychological intervention. Only a professional can also evaluate if a patient needs medication to block their impulses.

These therapies try to help us feed ourselves correctly, fighting a disorder that can lead to undesired consequences both mentally and physically.