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Binge eating disorder

What is it

People with binge eating disorder eat large quantities of food over a short period of time. While they’re eating in this way, they can feel disconnected and like they’re not in control of what they’re doing. This is called bingeing. Binges can be planned or spontaneous.

They don’t usually follow this by ‘getting rid of’ the food (for example, through being sick), but they might fast between binges.

Binges aren’t enjoyable – they’re distressing. People with binge eating disorder often feel guilt, shame, or disgust, which reinforces a negative cycle of emotions and bingeing. As with any eating disorder, people with binge eating disorder do not need to be ashamed. They are experiencing a mental illness, and with the right support, recovery is possible.

Feelings and behaviours

  • Spending a lot of time thinking about food
  • Feeling out of control around food or eating
  • Buying lots of food or hoarding food
  • Organising your life around binges
  • Feeling anxious about over eating in front of others
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed about binges
  • Eating very rapidly, when you’re not hungry, or until you’re uncomfortably full
  • Social isolation and withdrawal
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Low confidence

Physical signs

  • Being tired
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain, constipation, or other stomach problems
  • Feeling sick
  • Having poor skin

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