Overview

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterised by periods of recurrent binge eating without compensatory measures. People with BED often eat excessive amounts of food, even when they are full & not hungry. They feel an intense loss of control about their eating & regularly experiences feelings of guilt, depression, shame & disgust. This makes BED a mental illness with physical complications.

Find out more below through videos, clips and a factsheet.

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Factsheet

Binge Eating

Provided by The Butterfly Foundation

We have partnered with The Butterfly Foundation to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. The Butterfly Foundation provides support for Australians for suffer from eating disorders and negative body issues and their carers.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterised by periods of recurrent binge eating without compensatory measures. People with BED often eat excessive amounts of food, even when they are full & not hungry. They feel an intense loss of control about their eating & regularly experiences feelings of guilt, depression, shame & disgust. This makes BED a mental illness with physical complications. People with BED always experience very low self‐esteem.

People with BED often binge to distract themselves or avoid thinking about underlying emotional issues that are troubling them. BED can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.

Characteristics of Binge Easting Disorder

The following details the common characteristics:

  • Reaccurrent episodes of bingeing at least twice a week for six months
  • Frequent episodes of eating a large quantity of food in a short period of time (any two hour period)
  • Feeling a lack of control over eating during the binge episode (feeling you can’t stop eating)
  • Feeling ashamed or disgusted after overeating
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating much more rapidly than usual
  • Eating alone due to embarrassment about how much is being eaten

Complications of Binge Eating Disorder

People who have BED are usually over their most healthy weight & experience, or are at risk of the following health complications:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep apnea
  • Obesity
  • Substance &/or alcohol abuse
  • Panic attacks
  • Osteroarthritis
  • Joint & muscle pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholestrol
  • Heart disease
  • Low self esteem
  • Social isolation

The incidence of Binge Eating Disorder is almost equal in men and women

It is not known what specifically causes BED, however with every mental illness there are usually a variety of biochemical, psychological & sociocultural contributing factors.

Where to go for Help

If you believe you or someone you know has an eating disorder, please seek professional assistance.
The Butterfly Foundation has telephone & email support for eating disorder sufferers & their family & friends. This confidential & supportive counselling service is available on
(02) 9412 4499 or
support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

Treatment Options

Visit our information page on Treatment Options for Eating Disorders for more information including a factsheet and videos.

Tips for Recovery

Recovering from an eating disorder means different things to different people. Recovery is a process, like a journey, and it has many stages. For some people recovery can be the abstinence of behaviours and thoughts that have kept them unwell. For others, it has a focus on integrating back into regular life.

Recovering from an eating disorder takes some time and considerable effort. It is vital that you be patient and kind to yourself throughout your entire recovery process. You may find sometimes that you feel like you are not getting anywhere or moving quickly enough through your recovery. At times like this it is important to ‘hang in there’ and keep believing that full recovery is possible.

It is rare for anyone’s journey to recovery to happen in a linear way. There are often twists, turns and bumps along the way.

Listed below are some tips to help you in your recovery process:

Take Time Out

Try to do something nurturing and positive for yourself at least once a week. This is an important part of self care.

Reach Out for Support

You are not alone. Reach out to family, friends or community supports like Butterfly Foundation who can help you in times of need. Visit our treatment options information page for various options.

Reasons for Change

Remind yourself whenever possible of your reasons for change. You are deciding to move on from life without an eating disorder being present. This is a bold decision and deserves praise.

Values and Beliefs

Examine your values and beliefs and how your eating disorder may have detracted from you living your best life. This can be a powerful reminder as to why you are on a recovery path.

Triggers and Relapse

Relapse can occur in the process of recovering from an eating disorder and is actually quite common. It is important to not see this as a failure in any way. It is simply a part of the journey and a sign you may need extra professional support at that time.

Every person has different triggers and it’s important that you know yours. Often people with eating disorders find it difficult at times of change, high stress, and when feeling emotionally vulnerable.

Explore your triggers and put a plan into place if you feel that the eating disorder is coming back into your life. Reaching out for support to understand your triggers better can also help greatly.

Explore your Interests

Often when you are suffering from an eating disorder, your whole world becomes entrenched with thoughts about eating and associated behaviours. During recovery, take time to look at the enjoyed interests that you held before your eating disorder came into place, or that you might like to explore now. Did you enjoy playing the piano or would you like to learn a musical instrument? Are you a creative person that is missing an outlet for this side of yourself? By participating in these activities it will help you to refind your interests, find new ones and give you time out from your eating disorder.

Feelings

Do not hide your feelings and emotions away. Allow yourself to feel. This can be a daunting task to do but can help you fight your eating disorder by being real and genuine. Work to sit with difficult feelings in a safe environment and this will help them to move on quicker. If you find the process of allowing your true feelings to surface to be very difficult, seek support from your treatment provider or a trusted family member or friend.

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3 Responses to “Binge Eating”

  1. I wish more people would write sites like this that are actually helpful to read. With all the fluff floating around on the web, it is a great change of pace to read a site like yours instead.

  2. judith says:

    I found this site helpful. I have been struggling with eating and body image for a long time and its great to see that even ‘stars’ have to be manipulated to look good. Isn’t it about time we put artificial pictures out and real people in?

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