Suzanne Watson MD, MDiv, MEd

Del Mar Psychiatry


In-Person Appointments & Telemedicine Available, 317 14th Street, Suite D
 Del Mar, CA 92014

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a type of disordered eating  where people consume unusually large amounts of food in one sitting. Many people who binge eat feel a lack of control over their eating and may feel extremely depressed and guilty after a binge eating episode.  People who binge eat may be overweight or obese, but can also be of normal weight. There is no specific cause for binge eating but it may be a result of family history, biological factors, long-term dieting and psychological issues. Binge eating may be caused by depression or anxiety or may be the result of painful childhood experiences or family problems.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Symptoms of binge eating disorders can be behavioral and emotional and may include:

  • Eating when depressed, sad or bored
  • Eating large amounts of food when not hungry
  • Eating alone during binge episodes
  • Feeling disgusted, guilty, or depressed after binge episode
  • Eating until physically uncomfortable
  • Lack of control over consumption of food

Typical binge episodes may include:

  • Large amounts of food eaten quickly
  • Low nutritional value of food
  • Relatively high taste value of food
  • Eating alone and in an isolated environment

Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder

Treatment for a binge eating disorder may include cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, psychological counseling and medication.  A nutritionist can also be very helpful. The goal of treatment is to reduce eating binges, improve emotional well-being, and when necessary, help patients to lose weight. All these methods of treatment focus on improving the patient's ability to cope with difficult situations, and to encourage them to keep track of their eating habits. Self-help strategies such as books, videos and internet programs may also be effective in treating binge eating disorder.

Additional Resources

Del Mar Psychiatry