What are the symptoms of binge eating disorder (BED)?
At Priory, we understand that binge eating disorder (BED) is a debilitating condition that can have a hugely detrimental, long-term impact on an individual’s psychological and physical wellbeing. In addition, because BED is a highly secretive disorder, with many sufferers feeling too embarrassed and ashamed to eat excessively in front of other people, this condition can often go undiagnosed and untreated for a long period of time.
The signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder can vary from person to person, and can be categorised into psychological, physical and behavioural/social symptoms.
What are the physical symptoms of a binge eating disorder?
- Gaining weight as a result of eating so much unhealthy food
- Lack of fitness and general ill health as a result of your unhealthy diet
- Bad skin and hair due to lack of nutrients
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Medical complications like morbid obesity, diabetes and hypertension
The psychological symptoms of a binge eating disorder
- An overwhelming feeling of guilt, shame, embarrassment and self-disgust after binge eating
- Binge eating to cope with other distressing emotions/psychological problems
- Feeling as though no amount of food will be able to satisfy you
- Having an distorted and excessively negative body image – this could also be a sign that you are struggling with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
- Fear or embarrassment about eating sugary or fatty foods in front of other people
- Spending a lot of time thinking about when you can have your next bingeing episode, and feeling as though this has taken over your life
- Mood swings
- Anger, irritability and impatience – finding that you get angry for no reason and taking this out on those who are closest to you
- Low self-esteem and a reduction in confidence
- Exacerbation of any existing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Murali Sekar (MBBS, MRCPsych) in October 2022.
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