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What is Binge Eating Disorder (BED)? | Phoenixville Doctors
Phoenixville Doctors

What is Binge Eating Disorder (BED)?

Binge Eating Disorder (BED), is an eating disorder characterized by compulsive overeating. The patients eat a huge amount of food with the inability to stop. Food is used as a coping mechanism for negative and psychological problems. However, it’s not associated with purging (vomiting), unlike bulimia.


Although binge eating is the core symptom of BED, not everyone who binge eat has BED.  The following are the symptoms of BED:

  • Eating rapidly during a binge perhaps in a short space of time
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating a large amount even when not hungry
  • Loss of control over how much or what is eaten
  • Eating alone or secretly due to embarrassment over the amount of consumed food 
  • There may be a dazed mental state during the binge
  • Not remembering what was eaten after the binge
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or disgust following a food binge


While there is no definite known cause of BED, studies strongly suggest the following possible causes:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Unhealthy eating patterns
  • General body dissatisfaction
  • Environmental factors
  • Impact of traumatic or negative events
  • Stress
  • Depression

There is a relationship between binge eating and strict dieting (calorie restrictions of 1000 per day). There’s also a study that shows that binge eating tends to run in families.

In the U.S, it is estimated that 3.5% of young women and 30% to 40% of people who seek weight loss treatments, can be clinically diagnosed with binge eating disorder.


Counselling and medications are used to treat binge eating disorder.  Bariatric surgery has also been proposed as another method to treat BED.

Doctors and Specialists 

(This section is taken from www.vitals.com)

General Practitioner: This doctor specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness in all age categories. This is typically the first physician that the patient sees. The general practitioner may refer the patient suffering from a binge eating disorder to other specialists for further treatment.

Psychiatrist: This doctor specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders using both therapy and medications. This doctor may prescribe drugs for eating or compulsive disorders.

Psychologist: This provider helps people with binge eating disorder control stress or mood problems. Anxiety, guilt and low self-esteem, along with a skewed perception of body image are also addressed. Treatment may also include education and support for the family of the person suffering from binge eating disorder.

Nutritionist: This provider formulates diet plans and makes recommendations for vitamins and supplements. Since those with eating disorders often have accompanying deficiencies, diet plans are crucial.

Endocrinologist: This doctor deals with the health, diagnosis, and treatment of hormonal system disorders such as thyroid imbalances, diabetes, and pituitary problems. A hormonal imbalance can cause dramatic weight loss or fluctuations and abnormal eating patterns.

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