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Binge eating disorder: causes, consequences and treatment

Binge eating disorder: causes, consequences and treatment

July 14, 2024

For many of us there are certain days a year (like New Year's Eve dinner) in which we eat "until we do not fit anything else in the belly". For those who suffer the Binge eating disorder , this type of "binge" are common and end up becoming uncomfortable in their day to day, with serious negative consequences for health.

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which the person suffering from it he often consumes large quantities of food and feels he has lost control during binge eating . After overeating, severe anxiety or worry about weight usually appears.


Eating disorders usually develop during adolescence or adulthood, although they can also appear in childhood. Binge eating disorder differs from bulimia nervosa, since the person who suffers from it does not seek to counteract binge eating by provoking vomiting.

Like anorexia and bulimia, binge eating is a serious disease, but it has treatment. It usually coexists with diseases such as depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse.

Symptoms of binge eating disorder

The main symptoms of binge eating disorder are shown below:

  • Eat exaggerated amounts of food
  • Frequent feeling of lack of control over the amount of food eaten
  • Eat faster than normal
  • Eat despite being full and unhappy
  • Eat large amounts of food, despite not being hungry
  • Eat only for shame of how much you eat
  • After binge, feel sadness, depression or embarrassment
  • Frequent changes of weight
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Perform frequent diets without success

Causes of binge eating disorder

The causes of this disorder are unknown, although it is thought that there are several factors associated with its development. Depression seems to be one of the causes, since most patients suffer from a depressive disorder.


There also seems to be a relationship between emotional management and binge eating disorder, since anger, sadness, boredom, or stress favor the development of symptoms.

Some studies seem to indicate that there could also be biological factors related to binge eating disorder , for example, the involvement of certain genes in the development of the pathology. Other research confirms that serotonin is related to this disorder, and suggest that estrogen hormone therapy can specifically trigger neurons in the brain that produce serotonin to inhibit binge eating.

In addition, other causes of binge eating disorder appear to be: impulsivity or alcohol abuse.

Negative consequences for health

Depression can not only be a cause, but it can be a negative consequence of this type of eating disorder, because after binge-eating, those who suffer from this condition feel bad and see their self-esteem affected.


Weight gain is another negative consequence and produces serious consequences for health, such as the following:

  • Arterial hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Gallstones in the gallbladder
  • Cardiopathy

The treatment of binge eating disorder

These types of disorders should be treated by a specialist and the goals for treatment are: reduction of binge eating, improvement of emotional and physical well-being and weight loss.

Therefore, useful treatment may include:

  • Psychotherapy
    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Mindfulness can be of great help so that the patient can overcome the disorder.
  • Pharmacology
    Certain medications, such as SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) or Topiramate have shown their efficacy for treatment.
  • The advice of a nutritionist
    Once the symptoms are reduced, a dietitian can design a diet for a better relationship between the patient's diet and their well-being.

Eating disorder signs and symptoms (July 2024).


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