binge eating

Written by: Mª José Moreno Magaña
Published: | Updated: 15/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Compulsive eating is a pathology that must be taken into account when discussing Eating Disorders. It is characterized by an excessive intake of food that produces an immediate satisfaction that, however, disappears after a short time.

Characteristics of binge eating:

In the plane of feelings, at first, a binge can be pleasant. The taste and texture of the food can seem intensely pleasant. However, these feelings usually last a short time. Soon they are replaced by a feeling of disgust until they can become disgusted by what is being done, but the person who is having a binge is unable to stop. In addition, binge-eating people feel very anxious.

The typical way to eat during a binge is to do it very quickly. The food is swallowed rather than chewed. There are people who drink a lot to help themselves to swallow and this leads to a feeling of being full or swollen. In addition, the type of food they usually choose for binge eating are sweets or junk food.

Many patients agree that they have the feeling that their consciousness has been altered. They often describe that during compulsive eating they feel as if they are in a trance, as if it is not oneself that is eating that way.



Binge and Diet

Most people who suffer from these problems tend to diet. In many cases the diet precedes the compulsive episodes but often it is also an answer to them. In fact, in many of the cases that I see in the consultation the beginning of binge eating occurs after following a restrictive diet for a while.

It is quite usual the alternation between phases in which they get to diet and periods of compulsive attacks. As a result your body weight can fluctuate a lot and in many cases there is overweight, which usually negatively influence the self-image and self-esteem of the person.

Physical and psychological problems related to binge eating

Binge eating disorder significantly deteriorates the quality of life. They may feel depressed and demoralized. People who eat compulsively are also prone to anxiety problems. Some avoid social commitments, especially those related to meals. In addition sharp swings in mood are very frequent . Therefore, social or family relationships can deteriorate a lot.

As a result of binge eating there are digestive problems such as feeling bloated, digestions are very long, and in severe cases, the stomach dilates, to be able to tear the walls. To this must be added the nutritional consequences produced by eating in such a decompensated manner.


The appropriate psychological treatment is the cognitive-behavioral type. This is how the cognitive aspects of the problem are treated (the worry about weight or food, the all-nothing thought and the low self-esteem), while the behavioral part is directed towards addressing negative eating habits, social skills ...

Also, feelings of depression and many interpersonal conflicts improve markedly or disappear altogether when the problem of binge eating is overcome.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Mª José Moreno Magaña

He is a psychologist with extensive experience in treating eating disorders. In addition to the race, I do a master in Behavioral Intervention in Health Psychology from the Complutense University of Madrid and is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology and Master of Health in ISEP.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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