Binge Eating: What Is It?

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Binge Eating: What Is It?
Binge Eating: What Is It?
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Video: Binge Eating Disorder - What is it? 2023, February

Binge eating: what is it?

In the case of a binge eating disorder (BES, BED), eating attacks occur regularly. Those affected swallow large amounts of food and in a certain period of time (eg within two hours) eat far more than others in a similar period of time and in a similar situation.

Meanwhile, people with BES feel that they have no control over their eating behavior - e.g. how much they eat, what they eat and for how long.


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  • Binge eating without counter-regulating measures
  • Eating behavior & feelings of guilt
  • Consequences of binge eating disorder

Binge eating without counter-regulating measures

Those affected do not take regular (systematic) compensatory measures that counteract the consequences of their binge eating (e.g. vomiting, excessive exercise, abuse of laxatives, fasting, etc.). The beginning and end of the binge eating cannot be clearly stated. In addition, they do not suffer from any other eating disorders - such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa.

Eating behavior & feelings of guilt

In the case of a binge eating disorder, there are other behaviors that occur in connection with the binge eating, for example:

  • eat much faster than usual,
  • eat until an unpleasant feeling of fullness, regardless of the feeling of hunger (even if there is no feeling of hunger),
  • Feelings of self disgust, depression, guilt after the binge eating.

People often eat alone, out of guilt and shame that they eat so much. The binge eating is very stressful. Binge eaters suffer from their eating habits. According to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-V, binge eating occurs an average of at least one day a week and for three months.

Because large amounts of food are consumed, those affected are at high risk of becoming overweight. Overweight or obese people do not necessarily suffer from BES.

Consequences of binge eating disorder

Particularly in the long term, being very overweight has a corresponding effect on the body. But the psyche also suffers as a result of the binge eating disorder. Social life is often impaired.

Cardiovascular system & metabolism

The effects of (severe) obesity affect the cardiovascular system, among other things. The first signs are often noticeable in the form of high blood pressure. But blood lipid levels and blood sugar can also be increased. Overweight and obesity are considered to accelerate the so-called metabolic syndrome (MTS). Permanently increased weight can lead to arteriosclerosis and increase the risk of cardiovascular complications.

Further information can be found at

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diet and Obesity

Joints & Spine

A high body weight is also noticeable in the long term on the joints and the spine. Damage to intervertebral discs and joints (e.g. hip and knee joints) can occur.

Wellbeing & Mental Illness

The feeling of not being able to stop eating attacks again and again affects the psyche. Those affected are often ashamed of the binge eating. Depressive moods can occur. It also leads to impairments in self-esteem. Eating disorders can also be related to depression and anxiety disorders as well as substance abuse or addiction (e.g. alcohol). Those affected also suffer from their very high body weight.

social life

A BES can lead to certain avoidance behaviors in “public” life (eg avoiding eating in public for fear of not being able to control the attacks) and to social withdrawal. Affected people often have feelings of guilt after the "binge eating" and feelings of disgust with regard to themselves. Depressive tendencies can lead to a withdrawal from social life.

The literature used can be found in the bibliography.

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