Five Things You Might Not Know About Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Yet, it seems to be talked about less compared to other types of disordered eating, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. So, let's talk about it.

1. What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food in which an individual feels a loss of control over how much they eat.

The key difference between BED and bulimia nervosa is that individuals with BED do not engage in compensatory behaviors such as inducing vomit, using laxatives, intense exercise, etc. after a binge.

2. BED does not equal obesity

One of the most common misconceptions about patterns of binge eating is that it results in obesity or being overweight. People who struggle with binge eating disorder (BED) come in all shapes and sizes. Some are overweight and some aren't. Don't discount a friend, coworker, or family member who tells you they struggle with binge eating if they don't appear to be overweight. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental and Emotional Disorder (DSM-V) does not require a certain body mass index (BMI) for the diagnosis.

3. BED causes guilt and shame 

Individuals who struggle with binge eating frequently feel guilty and poor about themselves after engaging in a binge. This guilt often comes from a lack of self-control over eating habits. People who struggle with BED are often embarrassed to seek counseling although it is the most common eating disorder int he United States. Which leads me to....

4. BED is the most common eating disorder in the US

BED impacts 2.8% of American adults while anorexia impacts .9% of American women and bulimia impacts 1.5% of American women. 

5. There is help

Individuals struggling with BED have several treatment options. Some opt for individual counseling. When I work with individuals experiencing any type of disordered eating, I work closely with them to examine, and, ultimately change their thoughts, feelings, and relationship with food. I also refer them to a registered dietitian so they have a well-rounded team of care providers.

For some individuals, meeting and discussing BED with other people who struggle with it is helpful and encouraging. For that reason, I am starting a Binge Eating Disorder weekly therapy group at our Anderson location. Feel free to reach out for more information. 




Emily Teegarden