Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder characterized by the desire to eat large amounts of food and not being able to control the urge. This will cause feelings of discomfort and followed by feelings of guilt in the sufferer.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is categorized as a psychiatric disorder. This is because the desire to eat excessively in this condition does not appear due to hunger. This eating disorder is estimated to affect 3.5 percent of adult women and 2 percent of adult men worldwide.

In general, the disease begins in the late teens or early 20s. BED is also closely related to health problems related to nutrition, such as high cholesterol levels or diabetes.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

The exact cause of binge eating disorder is not known. However, this condition is thought to be related to disturbances in the area of ​​the brain that regulates hunger, satiety, and self-control.

There are several factors that are thought to increase the risk of binge eating disorder , namely:

  • Genetic factors, which make people with BED more sensitive to dopamine in the brain
  • Family history of eating disorders
  • Other psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or ADHD
  • Problems with your diet, such as skipping meals, not eating enough, going on an extreme diet , or avoiding certain foods
  • Body image disorder ( body dysmorphic disorder ), which causes a person to have a low self-image or obsess over certain physical appearances

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Most people with BED are overweight or obese. However, there are also BED sufferers whose weight is normal. Signs and symptoms that can be found in people with binge eating disorder include:

  • Eating large portions of food and can run out in a short time
  • Feeling out of control and suffering from eating behavior
  • Eating large amounts of food without feeling hungry
  • Eat until you feel very full and uncomfortable
  • Feelings of guilt, disgust, and depression after overeating
  • Eat when you are alone, because you feel ashamed of the portion of food you eat

This eating disorder behavior usually occurs at least 1 day in a span of 1 week and occurs for at least 3 months

Please note that BED is different from bulimia . People with BED may feel ashamed for their actions, but they will not expel what they have eaten, either by vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising excessively to lose weight.

When to see a doctor

Many sufferers do not realize that they have BED until adulthood. This is caused by his attitude that prefers to eat alone. He also tends to be shy to tell his eating behavior.

If you find someone who is experiencing symptoms that suggest binge eating disorder , take him to a psychiatrist immediately , especially if he also suffers from other health problems related to weight problems, such as obesity or morbid obesity .

Diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder

The doctor will first carry out several psychological evaluations related to the patient's eating habits. Furthermore, the doctor will assess a number of criteria for the patient based on The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition ( DSM-5), namely:

  • The behavior of consuming large amounts of food occurs repeatedly and cannot be controlled, and lasts at least 1 time in 1 week and lasts for 3 months
  • Feelings of depression related to overeating
  • The binge eating behavior is unrelated to previous activities, such as fasting or excessive exercise

After that, the doctor will determine the severity of the binge eating disorder suffered by the patient, namely:

  • Mild, if it occurs 1–3 times a week
  • Moderate, if it occurs 4–7 times a week
  • Severe, if it occurs 8–13 times a week
  • Extremes, when they occur 14 or more times a week

The doctor will also perform several other tests to detect health problems associated with binge eating disorder , namely:

  • Physical examination, to measure blood pressure, weight, and waist circumference
  • Blood tests, to measure cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels
  • Urine test , to check blood sugar levels in the urine

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Treatment for binge eating disorder aims to help with eating disorders, being overweight, body image, mental health, or a combination of these disorders.

Binge eating disorder treatment methods depend on the cause and severity of the patient. Doctors can choose psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, or medication, as described below:


Common therapies used to treat BED include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy , to help patients think more positively and control their eating patterns
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy, to treat binge eating disorder which is related to psychological problems and disorders in communicating and socializing
  • Dialectical behavior therapy, to help patients manage stress better

Nutrition consultation

Nutritional consultation aims to determine a special diet for the patient and at the same time lose weight. That way the patient's self-esteem will increase and his body image will improve.

The doctor or nutritionist will determine the diet according to the patient's needs. However, this diet therapy will usually be carried out after the patient's binge eating disorder has been resolved.


The drug used to help treat BED is lisdexamfetamine . This drug is useful in suppressing the desire to overeat in patients with moderate to severe binge eating disorder .

In addition, several other types of drugs that can be used to help reduce the symptoms of binge eating disorder are antidepressants . These drugs are used to suppress overeating by affecting chemical signals in the brain related to mood

Keep in mind, the use of these drugs must be based on the advice of a doctor, to minimize the possibility of side effects.

Complications of Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorder tend to experience nutritional deficiencies (malnutrition). This is because most of the food they consume does not have good nutritional value and is high in fat and sugar. As a result, many people with BED are obese or morbidly obese .

Complications that can occur due to obesity in patients with BED include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Gallstone disease
  • Disorders of the joints
  • Acid reflux disease ( GERD )
  • Trouble breathing, especially during sleep ( sleep apnea )

While the psychiatric complications that may occur in people with binge eating disorder are:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder

In addition, BED is also at risk of causing a decrease in quality of life due to the conditions they suffer. In some cases, people with this condition may neglect school, work, and other activities in order to satisfy their excessive desire to eat.

Prevention of Binge Eating Disorder

There is no surefire way to prevent binge eating disorder . However, there are efforts that can be made to avoid the risk of BED, including:

  • Eat slowly and stop when you're full
  • Identify the factors that trigger overeating
  • Don't skip meal schedules so you don't get too hungry
  • Follow a diet pattern according to doctor's advice
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sufficient sleep time
  • Manage stress well, for example by following yoga or meditation exercises
  • Avoid people who make negative comments about their eating habits and weight
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