What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is characterised by regular episodes of binge eating. Binge eating involves eating an excessive amount of food, which may take place in a rapid space of time, or may be more of an extended grazing. These episodes can feel chaotic, uncontrollable and highly distressing. Binge eating can occur when an individual is not physically hungry and may continue past the point of feeling uncomfortably full.

Individuals with binge eating disorder often experience a sense of shame and guilt regarding the eating concerns.

Warning signs 

  • An overwhelming sense of lack of control regarding eating behaviour
  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Chaotic, unpredictable eating patterns
  • Periods of uncontrolled, impulsive or continuous eating, often to the point of feeling uncomfortably full
  • Compulsively eating whatever food is available, regardless of how enjoyable it is
  • Eating when not physically hungry
  • Concern about weight gain following a binge eating episode
  • Excessive money spent on food
  • Feeling high, numb or dissociated during a binge eating episode
  • Feeling desperate to break the cycle of binge eating
  • Repeated episodes of binge eating, which often results in feelings of shame or guilt
  • Eating in secret
  • Avoiding social situations, particularly those involving food
  • Eating ‘normal’ quantities in social settings, and bingeing when alone
  • Low self-esteem and embarrassment over physical appearance
  • Feeling extremely distressed, upset and anxious during and after a binge episode
  • Guilt, self-disgust, self-hatred
  • Depression and/or anxiety

Medical risks

Binge eating disorder is a serious mental illness that impacts individuals in a wide range of ways.

Medical complications can include:

  • Osteoarthritis – a painful form of degenerative arthritis in which a person’s joints degrade in quality and can lead to loss of cartilage
  • Chronic kidney problems or kidney failure
  • High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol leading to increased risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease
  • Fluctuating weight or weight gain
  • Disruption of hormones, irregular or absent periods, loss of libido, infertility
binge eating disorder treatment australia

What next?

Recovery from binge eating disorder is possible, whether it is a recent or long-term concern. The path to recovery can be challenging and it is important to have the right team of health professionals around you.

If there are any warning signs of an eating disorder, we recommend making an appointment with your GP as soon as possible for a medical check-up.

Information on this page was collected from the below sources. If you would like more information, we recommend visiting these helpful sites.

It’s never too early or too late
to begin the path to recovery

If you or someone you love is struggling with eating concerns, please reach out.