Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating is an eating disorder where large amounts of food are consumed in a short period of time. It is defined by having a minimum of two binge episodes per week for six consecutive months. Most people with an eating disorder are obese, averaging 20% above healthy body weight. Binge eating is most common in older overweight women.
* Editor's note: As a 34 year old male, I struggled with a binge eating disorder for over a decade. It was not uncommon for me to eat a couple large pizzas and a six pack of soda in a single sitting. As studies continue to be released, I think we will find that an equal percentage of males binge eat; however, it is more difficult to diagnose as a male that eats large amounts of food is often considered to have a "healthy appetite" by his family and friends.


  • Eating large amounts of food even when not physically hungry
  • Eating faster than normal
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone (usually out of embarrassment over the quantity of food that will be consumed)
  • Guilt, depression, or disgust after eating

If you suspect a family member or someone you know of having a binge eating disorder you should encourage them to see an eating disorder specialist. Left untreated, binge eating can cause many health problems and can lead to Bulimia. As with most eating disorders, you will probably encounter resistance, anger, and denial.

Medical Risks:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Acid Reflux
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Heartburn
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Heart disease
  • Some forms of cancer

External Resources

US Department of Health & Human Services Overview of Binge Eating
Wikipedia documentation on Binge Eating Disorder
Weight-control Information Network Overview of Binge Eating Disorder
National Eating Disorders Association Overview of Binge Eating Disorder
American Academy of Family Physicians Overview of Binge Eating
medicinenet Overview of Binge Eating Disorder
Mayo Clinic Overview of Binge Eating Disorder
WebMD Overview of Binge Eating
Medline Plus Overview of Binge Eating