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What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a common eating disorder where you frequently eat large amounts of food while feeling powerless to stop and extremely distressed during or after eating. Binge eating disorder typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood, often after a major diet. During a binge, you may eat even when you’re not hungry and continue eating long after you’re full. You may also binge so fast you barely register what you’re eating or tasting. Unlike bulimia, however, there are no regular attempts to “make up” for the binges through vomiting, fasting, or over-exercising.

You may find that binge eating is comforting for a brief moment, helping to ease unpleasant emotions or feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. But then reality sets back in and you’re flooded with feelings of regret and self-loathing. Binge eating often leads to weight gain and obesity, which only reinforces compulsive eating. The worse you feel about yourself and your appearance, the more you use food to cope. It becomes a vicious cycle: eating to feel better, feeling even worse, and then turning back to food for relief. As much as you may feel powerless to break this cycle, there are plenty of things you can do to better manage your emotions and regain control over your eating and your health.

Treatment and help 
for compulsive overeating

All of us eat too much from time to time. But if you regularly overeat while feeling out of control and powerless to stop, you may be suffering from binge eating disorder. You may eat to the point of discomfort, then be plagued by feelings of guilt, shame, or depression afterwards, beat yourself up for your lack of self-control, or worry about what compulsive eating will do to your body.

As powerless as you may feel about your eating disorder, it’s important to know that binge eating disorder is treatable. You can learn to break the binge eating cycle, develop a healthier relationship with food, and feel good about yourself again.