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What is Binge Eating Disorder?

What is binge eating disorder? Learn about causes, treatments, recovery from compulsive overeating aka binge eating disorder at HealthPlace.

What is Binge Eating Disorder? Compulsive Eating Basics

Binge eating disorder is a mental illness characterized by compulsive overeating. Because of that, the condition is also referred to as compulsive eating disorder or compulsive overeating disorder (Binge Eating and Overeating: What's the Difference?) Amazingly, binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder and in 2013 was officially recognized in the DSM-5 as an eating disorder diagnosis. (Wondering if you have binge eating disorder? Take a binge eating test.)

How Binge Eating Disorder Starts

Binge eating disorder develops over time with increasingly frequent compulsive eating behaviors (compulsive eating symptoms). While it may look to some like the person is simply glutinous or weak-willed, binge eating disorder is defined as an addiction and needs to be treated with compassion.

The first warning sign that a person has a problem with compulsive overeating is often the weight gained by the binge eater. Loved ones watch as the person continues to eat more than normal and more than would be acceptable to others. The worst part of compulsive overeating is that the family may not even see the worst compulsive eating behaviors because binge eaters tend to keep their biggest binges a secret.

As the family sees their loved one continue to gain weight, they may get angry that the person is not taking care of themselves or their health. It's important, however, to keep in mind that binge eating disorder is a mental illness and it generally requires professional intervention to begin binge eating disorder treatment.


 

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Last Updated: 14 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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