Binge Eating Disorder

Carolyn Drahuse, Madison Peters, Dylan Kyker


Binge Eating Disorder causes the frequent consumption of unusually large amounts of food and feeling the need to continue eating. People with this disorder feel unable to stop eating once they start. The people who suffer with this disorder feel an urge to continue to eat, typically in a short period of time.


Biological Level of Analysis
  • There are a few different ways that biology could be the cause of binge eating disorder. There is a genetic mutation that has been found that could possibly be linked to food addictions. There is also evidence that low levels of serotonin could cause this constant need to eat. Abnormalities in the hypothalamus can trigger binge eating disorder as the hypothalamus regulates eating behaviors.
Social Cultural Level of Analysis
  • Peer pressure is a problem with all eating disorders. People who are exposed to bullying and comments about their size and weight are susceptible to acquiring binge eating disorder. Binge eating can also start by finding comfort in food when upset because of stress, depression and anxiety.


  • Eating large amounts of food in a specific amount of time. Often times eating very fast.
  • The individual feels that his eating behavior is out of control. Causing an individual to feel upset, guilty, depressed, and disgusted with himself.
  • Eating when you are not hungry or full causing you to be uncomfortably full.
  • Eating alone or in secret
  • Dieting without weight loss


  • 1-5% of the general population
  • Within the general population BED affects
    • 3.5% women
    • 2% Men
    • 1.6% adolescents
  • 8% of those who are obese
  • People with BED-
    • 60% Women
    • 40% Men
  • Most common eating disorder in the US
  • Men- affected by BED Midlife
  • Women- affected by BED in early adulthood

Treatment Methods

  • Can be treated as both an eating disorder or as obesity

    • People see the core of the problem as different things when looking at it through the lense of a different field

  • General Purpose of Treatment

    • Reduce or eliminate bingeing

    • Improve self esteem

    • Body acceptance

    • Treat any underlying psychological problems

      • depression

      • anxiety

When Treated as an Eating Disorder:

    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CLOA)

      • Used to regulate two factors:

        • Cognitive Factor

          • Evaluation of weight and shape

          • Body image

          • Self worth

          • Perfectionism

        • Behavioral Factor

          • Weight control (exercise)

          • Diet (restrictions)

          • Purging

          • Self harm

          • Body avoidance

Phases of Therapy
  • Behavioral
    • Formation of a stable diet plan
    • Formation of a plan for eliminating binge-eating behaviors
    • Because emotions are heightened during the therapeutic process, so coping strategies are provided as well
  • Cognitive
    • Recognizing and changing thinking patterns that are associated with cravings and negative self image
    • Recognition of the thoughts and beliefs that caused the issue (underlying symptoms)
    • Development of positive perspectives
  • Maintenance
    • Reduction of triggers
    • Prevent relapse
    • Track progress
This relates to the CLOA because this treatment method targets the mental representations that patients have developed about themselves and their ideal image. According to the CLOA, mental representations guide behaviour. This shows that when a binge-eating disorder patient has a negative mental representation of themselves, they will feel disgusted with themselves after consuming food, but will continue to eat it anyways.

When Treated as Obesity:

  • Set and follow realistic weight loss goals

  • Balance energy going in with energy going out

  • Adopt healthy lifestyle habits

Related Study

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder

    • Christy F. Telch, W. Stewart Agras, Marsha M. Linehan

    • Conducted a research project to investigate the effects of dialectal behavioral therapy, DBT in women of the age 44.

    • DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy which focuses on identifying thoughts and beliefs that led to disorder and reaching a state of emotional balance personally and socially

    • Held DPT sessions for 20 weeks

      • First 2 sessions spent providing a reason for the disorder, setting reasonable goals, and receiving the verbal and written commitment to the new plans

      • Next 16 sessions on learning mindfulness skills, emotion regulation skills, and distress tolerance skills

      • Last 2 sessions spent reviewing all DBT material and creating a plan to utilize skills

    • Found that DBT was successful in 89% of the women, and retention after 6 months went to 56%

    • He found that people who abstained from binge-eating following specialty eating-disorder treatment were significantly more likely to benefit from weight-loss treatment in both the short and long run.


Connecting feelings, thoughts and deeds: Cognitive Behavior Therapy and eating disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2015.

DeAngelis, T. (2002, March 1). Binge-eating disorder: What's the best treatment? Retrieved October 8, 2015, from

Telch, C., Agras, S., & Lineham, M. (2001, May 10). Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from et al 2001.pdf