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Binge Eating Disorder: Information for Patients


If you have been diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder BED, it means that your eating behaviors are complicated by the presence of rather frequent episodes of uncontrolled overeating. BED is more widespread compared to other eating disorders. You should know that it may cause susceptible weight gains if not managed properly since the definitive feature of this disorder is the absence of attempts to empty the stomach after eating too much. Unfortunately, many individuals with BED refuse to take their overeating episodes seriously, so the disorder often remains undiagnosed and may lead to morbid obesity.

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  • Patients with BED have weekly episodes of eating too much for at least three months (Iqbal & Rehman 2019)
  • BED is more prevalent compared to anorexia and bulimia nervosa (Brownley et al. 2016; Udo & Grilo 2018)
  • Unlike bulimia nervosa, BED does not involve purging after overeating, which is why it leads to weight gains (Iqbal & Rehman 2019)
  • BED often remains undiagnosed (Lock & Osipov 2019)

Binge Prevention

  • Keep a food diary to keep track of your eating patterns
  • Use the diary to single out your “triggers”
  • Make sure that gaps between meals do not exceed 4 hours (Iqbal & Rehman 2019)
  • Plan strategies to limit exposure to the identified triggers
  • Check your weight on a weekly basis

As of now, you should be aware of the simplest ways to keep track of your binges and reduce the number of such episodes. Firstly, document information about your meals on a regular basis and also pay attention to events or specific factors that result in overeating. For some people, the opportunity to eat a very specific product is an independent trigger, so they should avoid places or situations in which this food is available. It is not uncommon that people engage in binge eating after periods of under-eating, so it is recommended to have a nutrition plan with relatively short gaps between meals.

Available Treatment Options

As a patient diagnosed with BED, you can benefit from multiple evidence-based treatment methods if you turn out to be unable to implement lifestyle modifications without extra assistance. CBT is successfully used to teach patients with BED how to recognize and deal with the triggers of overeating episodes, such as stress or negative body image (Bello & Yeomans 2018). Next, IPT techniques can be helpful if the causes of your unhealthy eating patterns must deal with specific issues with friends, family, romantic partners, or colleagues (Bello & Yeomans 2018). If these options do not help, your eating behaviors can be normalized with the help of Vyvanse, an FDA-approved drug (McElroy et al. 2017).

Complications of BED to Avoid

  • Eating disorders increase the risks of suicide and poor quality of life (Hart et al. 2018)
  • BED complications: obesity, neck pain, blood pressure abnormalities (Iqbal & Rehman 2019; McCuen-Wurst, Ruggieri & Allison 2018)
  • BED complications: respiratory disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, heart failure, hormonal imbalance (Iqbal & Rehman 2019; McCuen-Wurst et al. 2018)

Keep in mind that the absence of timely lifestyle changes and treatment can be devastating for your health if you already have the diagnosis of BED. If not treated, the disorder being discussed increases the risks of a variety of complications, including life-threatening conditions. BED makes a significant contribution to obesity, which leads to the risks of other diseases that you can see on the slide. Apart from these conditions, BED is unlikely to go unnoticed for a person’s mental health. Modern research suggests links between BED and other eating disorders and suicidal behaviors (Hart et al. 2018). Considering these possibilities, it is critical to make sure that you will take a responsible approach to your health.

Reference List

Bello, N. T. and Yeomans, B. L. (2018) ‘Safety of pharmacotherapy options for bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder’, Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, 17(1), pp. 17-23.

Brownley, K. A. et al. (2016) ‘Binge-eating disorder in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, Annals of Internal Medicine, 165(6), pp. 409-420.

Hart, S. et al. (2018) ‘Development of the ‘Recovery from eating disorders for life’ food guide (REAL food guide) – a food pyramid for adults with an eating disorder’, Journal of Eating Disorders, 6(1), pp. 1-11.

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Iqbal, A. and Rehman, A. (2019) Binge eating disorder. StatPearls Publishing, Treasure Island. Web.

Linardon, J. et al. (2017) ‘The efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 85(11), pp. 1080-1094.

Lock, J. and Osipov, L. (2019) ‘Eating disorders: the basics’, in Lock, J. (ed.) Pocket guide for the assessment and treatment of eating disorders. Washington, American Psychiatric Association Publishing, pp. 1-34.

McCuen-Wurst, C., Ruggieri, M. and Allison, K. C. (2018) ‘Disordered eating and obesity: associations between binge eating-disorder, night-eating syndrome, and weight-related co-morbidities’, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1411(1), p. 96.

McElroy, S. (2017) ‘Treatment of binge eating disorder’, Biological Psychiatry, 81(10), p. S184.

McElroy, S. et al. (2017) ‘Time course of the effects of lisdexamfetamine dimesylate in two phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in adults with binge-eating disorder’, International Journal of Eating Disorders, 50(8), pp.884-892.

Udo, T. and Grilo, C. M. (2018) ‘Prevalence and correlates of DSM-5–defined eating disorders in a nationally representative sample of US adults’, Biological Psychiatry, 84(5), pp. 345-354.

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