BED Symptoms
Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Despite that, it tends to be left out of the conversations around eating disorders, and many people can brush off binge eating disorder symptoms as not having enough “discipline” or “willpower.” Terms like “overeating” and “food addiction” also tend to pop up, both of which obscure the seriousness of binge eating disorder as a mental illness. Binge eating disorder can have serious negative effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as greatly reduce quality of life. Learning to recognize the symptoms of binge eating disorder—whether it’s in yourself or a loved one—is the first step toward getting the help necessary to recover.  Read on to learn the basics of binge eating disorder, common symptoms to look out for, and how we can help you work toward a healthier future if you’re struggling.
What is binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder, or BED, is an eating disorder in which a person experiences recurrent episodes of binge eating, or binges. A binge is defined as eating an objectively large amount of food (more than most people would eat in similar circumstances) over a short period of time, often past the point of fullness and even to the point of discomfort. Binges are usually accompanied by a loss of control—aka feeling like you’re not able to stop yourself from eating—and followed by intense feelings of shame, guilt, and other distressing emotions. Unlike bulimia, people with binge eating disorder don’t purge after their binge episodes. 
Binge eating disorder was officially recognized as an eating disorder diagnosis in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5) in 2013. Before this, BED was listed as an EDNOS, or eating disorder not otherwise specified (now known as OSFED, or other specified feeding and eating disorder). Binge eating disorder can negatively impact every facet of your life, harming mental and physical health as well as relationships, school, work, and more. The good news is that with the right treatment, complete recovery is possible for everyone struggling with BED. But before that can happen, you have to know what to look out for. 
Binge eating disorder is most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting an estimated 2.8 million people. BED occurs equally among men and women, and it affects people of all ages, though symptoms tend to set in during a person’s late teens or early twenties. Approximately 1.6% of teenagers have BED. 
of teenagers have BED
Common BED symptoms
A person is diagnosed with binge eating disorder when they experience recurrent episodes of binge eating for a prolonged period of time. But there are a lot of signs, symptoms, and red flags that come before a formal diagnosis. By being aware of what to look out for in yourself or a loved one, you can get a diagnosis—and help—more quickly.
  • Consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time
  • Frequently participating in diets, especially fad diets
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating without feeling hungry
  • Hiding or stealing food
Binge eating disorder is often linked to other mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.  It’s also important to remember that BED symptoms are different from simply overeating. While it’s common to occasionally eat more than you regularly do, binge eating is different. During a binge, a person feels like they are unable to stop eating, eat past the point of discomfort, and experience intense feelings of distress afterward.
Recovery is possible
At Equip, we provide virtual, evidence-based care that helps patients alleviate binge eating disorder symptoms and work toward a happier, healthier future. While BED can feel isolating, you’re far from alone, and lasting recovery is possible with the right support.  Get in touch with our team today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.
Take the next step
1. “Definition & Facts for Binge Eating Disorder.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Last reviewed May 2021.,men%20have%20binge%20eating%20disorder.&text=About%201.6%25%20of%20teens%20age,18%20years%20old%20are%20affected.