Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

What is BED?

Also called compulsive overeating or emotional eating, BED includes recurring episodes of eating more than what would be considered normal while feeling out of control, and resulting feelings of guilt, shame, and distress.

Although those with BED are often at a higher weight, anyone, at any weight, can have the disorder.

Like anorexia and bulimia, BED is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder needing individualized therapy with an experienced team for recovery.

Some Facts1:

  • BED is the most common of all eating disorders, affecting three times the number of those diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia combined.
  • BED affects 30-40% of those seeking treatment for weight loss.
  • BED impacts people of all races, education levels, ages, and income.
  • BED is more common than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia.

What BED is NOT1:

  • BED is not a choice.
  • BED is not a lack of willpower.
  • BED does not indicate failure.
  • BED is not solely overeating at a holiday meal or special occasion.

Complications of BED:

People with BED are at an increased risk for complications associated with various health conditions such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain and more2.

According to leading medical expert in the field of eating disorders, Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, “the #1 medical complication of BED is poor general medical and surgical care stemming from weight stigma.”4.

What is weight stigma?

Weight stigma is the judgment and bias placed on people based on their weight5. Studies have shown that weight bias results in substandard medical care, as well as unequal educational and employment opportunities6.

Weight stigma fuels body shame, chronic dieting, depression, anxiety, and avoidance of medical care. By not seeing the doctor, health conditions get worse as they go untreated. And even when people in larger bodies see the doctor, the visit is often focused on their weight rather than their health.

You deserve better than this. Our providers understand these complications and work from a weight-neutral perspective to address your overall health and wellbeing.

Can you recover from BED?

Yes! It is possible to recover from BED and to live a life not governed by endless cycles of dieting, disordered eating and body shame. To be recovered means to tend to your health and wellbeing, while experiencing pleasure and joy with food and physical activity. Through growth and insight, you will learn to treat yourself with compassion and acceptance.

What does BED treatment look like?

Treatment can include the following3:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Individual nutrition therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medical/psychiatric management
  • Couples/family therapy

Because of the weight stigma that exists in our culture, people often assume that the treatment for BED is weight loss. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned professionals recommend weight loss strategies that ultimately make the BED symptoms worse. That is why it is essential that you work with a team who understands BED and who can provide alternatives to dieting that, lead to a life free from overeating and binging, improves your emotional and physical health, and also improves body image and self-esteem.

Recovery from BED is never a linear process. There will be ups and downs along the way. With time and consistent treatment, it is possible to find peace with food, exercise, and your body. We are here to help.

Statistics and other information referenced above were obtained from the following sources: