A variety of factors may contribute to binge-eating disorder and may include:

  • Biological. Biological vulnerability may play a role in developing binge-eating disorder. Both genes and brain chemicals may be involved. In addition, researchers are studying appetite regulation of the central nervous system for clues, along with gastrointestinal changes that might shed more light on causes.

  • Psychological. Psychological and emotional characteristics, such as low self-esteem, heightened concern about body shape and appearance, expressing anger, and impulsivity, may also contribute.

  • Cultural. Modern Western culture often cultivates and reinforces a desire for thinness. Most people who have binge-eating disorder are overweight; they're acutely aware of their body shape and appearance and berate themselves after eating binges.