How to Identify a Binge Eating Disorder

May 7th 2016

While binge eating disorders can cause significant distress and lead to health problems if left untreated, the good news is the condition is manageable if caught in time. Therapy helps sufferers identify the underlying issues that trigger binging episodes, while medical treatments and special dietary plans can minimize urges and help sufferers manage their eating habits in a healthy fashion.

Rapid Eating

Individuals with binge eating disorders often consume food at a rapid pace during binges, rarely pausing to "take a breath." During binge episodes, sufferers tend to eat as much food as possible, and do not stop even when uncomfortably full.

Guilt and Shame

Following a binge eating episode, sufferers often feel extremely ashamed, exhausted and depressed. Feelings of disgust may also lead sufferers to embark on crash diets; however, the need for control often outweighs the desire to maintain a healthy body weight, which can lead to frequent binging relapses in which the cycle starts all over again.

Eating Large Amounts of Food

Binge eaters tend to eat any time they feel stressed or upset, regardless of whether they are actually hungry. Binges can last for hours at a time, as binge eaters are usually never satisfied, no matter how much they eat. When binging, it is also common for sufferers to experience feelings of numbness and detachment.

Secret Eating

Binge eaters are typically ashamed of their behavior, which can lead to multiple episodes of "eating in secret." Binge eaters often stockpile large amounts of food to be eaten when alone, and also tend to eat normally when dining with others.


While binge eating is commonly associated with bulimia, binge eating disorders differ in the fact sufferers do not attempt to regurgitate the food following consumption. Individuals with binge eating disorders often experience feelings of shame and guilt during episodes of uncontrolled eating but also feel powerless when it comes to curbing their urges. If you are concerned about a loved one who is exhibiting potential signs of a binge eating disorder, or if your own eating habits are causing you worry, identifying your symptoms and seeking medical assistance are the first steps in moving toward a full recovery.

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