Understanding Binge Eating Disorder and How to Overcome It

Dr. Ricardo Alvarez | Last Updated : May 10, 2023

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a condition that a person suffers from when they eat a large amount of food uncontrollably within a short period. If you notice that you are experiencing this situation at least once a week for three months, you might have BED, which requires you to visit your doctor and discuss your symptoms.

BED is a common disorder in the US and can be experienced by everyone regardless of ethnicity or race. It affects people in different age groups, from children to adults. This condition is also common among individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is believed that too much focus on controlling food and weight is the reason for this.

What Causes Binge-Eating Disorder

There are many known causes of binge eating disorder. It can be caused by psychological, biological, environmental, or a combination of two or all factors. Let’s discuss each factor that could trigger a binge eating disorder to understand better how this condition works.

Biological Causes

One known cause of binge eating disorder is hormonal irregularities and genetic mutations particular to food addiction. Research was also conducted, which revealed a connection between binge eating disorder and low serotonin levels.

You should also look into your history. If you have undergone weight fluctuations in the past, then you are at a high risk of developing a binge eating disorder.

Behavioral Causes

The next factor that can cause a binge eating disorder can be traced back to your past, like during your teenage years. Many binge eaters have reported a history of extensive dieting during their adolescent years.

Restricting food intake during a diet will stimulate hunger cues that leave you vulnerable to binge eating. Additionally, the pressure you put yourself into during a diet and limiting or maintaining caloric intake will create overwhelming anxiety, stress, and shame, which triggers binge eating.

Environmental Causes

It has also been observed that environmental factors like bullying, body shaming, and low self-confidence trigger some individuals who suffer from binge eating disorders. They commonly also have body image concerns.

What you see on social media or TV also significantly impacts your eating behavior. If outside factors easily dictate your self-worth, you are at a higher risk of developing a binge eating disorder triggered by environmental causes.

Emotional Causes

Emotional eating is not new to us. Have you noticed when you’re going through emotional problems, you tend to eat more, especially sweets and junk food? It is known that eating sweet and starchy food helps our body create serotonin.

Serotonin is a hormone that regulates our mood, thus making us feel calmer and lessening the stress hormone in our body. Additionally, your emotional state will also be affected by your self-esteem and self-worth.


Lastly, binge eating disorder has also been seen to happen twice as likely to individuals with family members suffering from such a condition. If binge eating runs in your family, you are more likely to develop the disorder yourself.

How to Overcome Binge Eating Disorder

If you’re suffering from BED, you should remember that there are ways to overcome your condition. However, you must consult your physician before doing the following tips. Check out these tips below and see which can help you overcome BED.

Taking Medicine

The most common and easiest solution that one will think of is to take medication. Every BED therapy guide you’ll see will suggest taking medication to help you manage your binge-eating impulses.

Vyvanse is the common medication that physicians prescribe to their patients with BED. This medication increases your brain’s norepinephrine and dopamine levels, which will help you gain more control over your eating behavior.

Forget the Fad Diet

You should immediately stop if you are using a fad diet to lose weight. Instead, focus on eating healthy food choices following the diet meal plan your physician or dietician provides.

Do Yoga or Exercise Regularly

Yoga and exercising not only help you lose that extra weight but also help you become healthier physically and mentally. Exercising, for instance, has been observed to stop binge eating behavior among 81% of the participants in one study conducted in 1996. Exercise has been known to be a great way to enhance your mood and decrease stress levels, which are among the factors that cause binge eating.


So many factors cause binge eating disorder, but there are also many ways you can overcome it. With a little with your physician and a lot of knowledge about your condition, you will overcome your BED in no time.

Dr. Ricardo Alvarez

Dr. Ricardo Alvarez was a former Medical professor and faculty at Harvard Medical school. After resigning, now he is practicing as a general physician who deals with the diagnosis and treatment of general health problems and disorders. He earned his MS and PhD from Columbia University. Ricardo Alvarez completed his undergraduate education from an accredited medical college under the University of London and completed his training from AMCAS and is a doctor with earned board certification.

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