Signs & Symptoms
Binge-eating disorder, sometimes called compulsive overeating, means that a person regularly eats excessive amounts of food (binge). A binge is considered eating a larger amount of food than most people would eat under similar situations. For instance, a person who binges may eat 10,000 to 20,000 calories worth of food during a binge, while someone following a normal diet may eat 1,500 to 3,000 calories in a day.
The precise definition of a binge is debatable. A binge episode is typically considered to last about two hours, but some experts say binges can last an entire day.
Behavioral and emotional signs:
- Eating large amounts of food
- Eating even when full
- Eating rapidly during binge episodes
- Feeling that eating behavior is out of control
- Frequent dieting without weight loss
- Frequently eating alone
- Hoarding food
- Hiding empty food containers
- Feeling depressed, disgusted or upset about eating
After a binge, a person may try to diet or eat normal meals. But restricting eating may simply lead to more binge eating, creating a vicious cycle.