Most people with binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese, but you may be at a normal weight. Behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of binge-eating disorder include:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as over a 2-hour period
  • Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control
  • Eating even when you're full or not hungry
  • Eating rapidly during binge episodes
  • Eating until you're uncomfortably full
  • Frequently eating alone or in secret
  • Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty or upset about your eating
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

Unlike a person with bulimia, after a binge, you don't regularly compensate for extra calories eaten by vomiting, using laxatives or exercising excessively. You may even try to diet or eat normal meals. But restricting your diet may simply lead to more binge eating.

The severity of binge-eating disorder is determined by how often episodes of bingeing occur during a week.

When to see a doctor

If you have any symptoms of binge-eating disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible. Binge-eating disorder usually doesn't get better by itself, and it may get worse if left untreated.

Talk to your primary care doctor or a mental health provider about your binge-eating symptoms and feelings. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to someone you trust about what you're going through. A friend, loved one, teacher or faith leader can help you take the first steps to successful treatment of binge-eating disorder.

Helping a loved one who has symptoms

A person with binge-eating disorder may become an expert at hiding behavior, making it hard for others to detect the problem. If you have a loved one you think may have symptoms of binge-eating disorder, have an open and honest discussion about your concerns.

Provide encouragement and support. Offer to help your loved one find a qualified doctor or mental health provider and make an appointment. You might even offer to go along.

April 09, 2015