Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Updated: July 23, 2022

Sometimes we overeat, like when we’re on holiday, or during festive periods.  But if you notice you’re often eating unusually large amounts of food in a short time, without the ability to stop, you may be experiencing what is now recognised as a serious disorder; binge eating disorder (BED).

Get Help With This

What Is BED?

The majority of people who experience binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese, but you can have the disorder and be of normal weight.  Binge-eating disorder is when people are unable to stop themselves from eating unusually large amounts of food in a short space of time, its severity is determined by how often binges happen in a week.  People who binge eat feel out of control, and unable to stop, so may eat in secret.


This can lead to feeling embarrassment, shame, and feelings of self-loathing. You might even tell yourself that you are going to stop…until the next time you feel the uncontrollable urge to eat excessively.  Although the act of binge-eating is a behaviour, it is important to recognise that it is likely a symptom of an underlying emotional issue.  The compulsion to binge-eat is now a recognised disorder, so help is available.

What Are The Symptoms?


People feel the urgency to take control of the situation and lose weight, this can mean they try lots of ‘fad diets’ and are often on one, but this can lead to more binges when they feel hungry, low, or stressed.

Eating Fast

During binge episodes, people often eat fast and cannot stop, even when feeling full.

Eating Large Amounts

People who experience BED tend to eat unusually substantial amounts of food in a specific timeframe, for example, over a two-hour period

Eating Until Uncomfortable

The inability to stop the binge means that people often feel full to the point of discomfort.

Feeling Out Of Control

BED makes people feel a lack of control when it comes to their eating behaviour.  This is because they are unable to resist the compulsion to overeat.

Negative Self-Perception

Often individuals who binge-eat feel a whole host of emotions about themselves and what they are doing, they may experience stress, depression, shame, disgust, upset, embarrassment, guilt, and self-loathing.

Secret Or Lone Eating

BED creates a gamut of negative emotions about oneself, and one’s behaviour, often leading individuals to secret eat or eat alone so they won’t be judge by others.

What Causes BED?

It is unknown what causes BED but there are a number of possible risk factors that can make someone vulnerable to the disorder.

Upbringing and genetics: family history can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, you are more likely to be impacted if you have a parent or sibling who has currently, or in the past experienced an eating disorder.  This could be due to learned behaviour, genetics, or both.

Psychological and emotional problems: often people with an eating disorder experience low self-esteem, worth, and confidence.  They may be depressed, or feeling stress in the present, or have a low opinion of their body-image.

Dieting: Often those who binge eat will have a history of dieting.  If they are dieting and restricting food during the day, they may feel the urge to binge in the evening, especially if they are feeling hungry and the go-to binge food is available, and if they feel stressed, or depressed, and wish for comfort.

How Phinity Therapy Can Help

At Phinity we can offer a thorough psychological evaluation, which will include a discussion of your eating habits.  We may recommend physical examinations if there appear to be any medical concerns as a result of the bingeing.

Presumably your goals will involve reducing binge episodes and developing healthy eating habits and this will take up the initial focus to help you regain control.  So initially the work will focus on the your eating habits, and then if you wish, what is influencing them.

As disordered eating is often underpinned by emotional issues, such as poor self-image, shame, depression, and other negative feelings, we may begin to address these.

One way we work with BDD is by using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which can help you learn to cope with things that might normally trigger a binge, for example, depression, or low self-esteem.  It can also offer a sense of control as you begin to regulate your behaviour, and therefore binge episodes.

Another option is interpersonal psychotherapy which focuses on your relationships with others (including partner, family, friends, colleagues) with the aim of improving how you relate to them and your interpersonal skills.  This is useful if your BED is influenced by difficulties in relationships and unhelpful communication skills.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) may be another useful option if you require help with behavioural skills in order to tolerate stress, manage emotions and improve relationships, as all of these can help you control the compulsion to binge eat.

You do not have to worry about which therapeutic approach to choose, our therapists can talk you through options and recommend what they think will help, based on your initial assessment with them.

What Causes BED?How Phinity Therapy Can Help


Clients' Common Questions

Client Reviews

See what clients are saying about their sessions at Phinity.
Alex G
4 days ago
My therapist was highly professional and courteous, instantly putting me at ease right from the start of our session.
Read More
3 weeks ago
The therapist provided the support and guidance I required at this moment. I'll certainly be suggesting her to others.
Read More
1 month ago
I've always been hesitant about therapy, but Phinity changed my perspective entirely. From the moment I walked in, I felt welcomed and understood. The therapists are so easy to talk to and have a knack for making you feel seen and heard. Their approach is truly holistic, addressing both my mental and emotional well-being. I couldn't be happier with my experience. Five stars all around.
Read More
1 month ago
Phinity Therapy has been a game-changer for me. The personalized care and compassion I received were exactly what I needed. The environment is so calming. They really made me feel heard and supported. I can't recommend them highly enough. Five out of five stars without a doubt.
Read More
7 months ago
Highly recommend for therapy. Life-changing experience!
Read More
7 months ago
Professional, empathetic, and effective therapy.
Read More
James M
8 months ago
I can't thank Phinity Therapy enough for their support and expertise.
Read More
A a
11 months ago
Thanks Rehanna, I feel the best I've felt in YEARS and I've had a few therapists before so that's a credit to you.
Read More
R t
1 year ago
Really grateful for Rehanna's help, and for listening to me, it's really helped.
Read More
J s
1 year ago
Thank you, I feel progress after every session.
Read More
Book Your Free Consultation