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When Is “Bingeing” Actually Binge Eating Disorder?


We use the word “binge” very casually in our society. We “binge” watch episodes of our favorite shows on DVR or Netflix. We “binge” listen to podcasts. Most of us probably “binged” on Star Wars movies before.

But when is bingeing on food actually Binge Eating Disorder?

Consider a time when you thought you were bingeing and ask yourself the following questions:

*. Did you consume an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time as compared with what others might eat in the same amount of time under similar circumstances?

*. Did you experience a loss of control over eating during these episodes?Do you consume food faster than normal?

*. Do you feel fuller than usual?

*. Are you consuming large amounts of food when not hungry?

*. Are you consuming food alone due to embarrassment over the amount of food you are eating?

*. Do you feel disgusting, guilty or depressed after the binge?

*. Do you feel distressed about the binge?

Finally, think about your behavior over a period of time.

Has the binge eating occurred at least once a week for 3 months?

It is important to note that weight gain may or may not be associated with BED. And while there is a correlation between BED and weight gain, not everyone who is overweight binges or has BED.

If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, I am here to help.

Email me at drnorton@eatingdisorderpro.com or call 513-205-6543 to schedule an appointment. Tele-therapy phone sessions available.

-Dr. Norton


Characteristics of Binge Eating

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Cincinnati

Binge eating is mostly associated with Bulimia but it is also a characteristic of other eating disorders such as Bulimarexia and Binge Eating Disorder. There are two definable types of binge’s, objective and subjective. Binge eating has often been associated with purging but not all binges are followed by a purge. It should be noted that vomiting is not the only means of purging; excessive exercising and the use of diet pills, diuretics, and laxatives are other methods of purging. Some may just use one of these methods and others use a combination of these.

Objective and Subjective Binge Eating

An objective binge consists of as much as 20,000 calories in one episode (which may last from minutes to many hours) or huge amounts of low calorie foods, such as 6 heads of lettuce with no fat butter. Binges generally have a function or serve a purpose such as procrastination, avoidance, or relieving anxiety and boredom. The binge is usually thought out and requires a block of time and privacy.

A subjective binge is the intake of normal foods in normal amounts that the individual feels uncomfortable eating. The person may feel uncomfortable because it contained a taboo such as fat, sugar or carbs. Or it may have been “healthy” but they ate too much. The most common reason for a purge is that the individual feels too full. Research shows that Bulimic’s and Bulimarxics are unusually sensitive to the sense of fullness.

Situational Binge Triggers:

Meal Preparation, a person with an eating disorder can often be triggered into a binge by preparing a meal, as they are preparing the food they will begin to nibble on the ingredients used to prepare the meal. The amount of food they consume during the preparation of the meal can be as much as the meal itself, the result is consuming twice as much food as intended. This may lead to purging, depending on the type of eating disorder.

Dining out with a Group, this is usually very difficult for a person with an eating disorder. The person with the eating disorder will usually consume an appropriate amount of “healthy” food while those around them are eating “taboo” foods. This often angers the person with the eating disorder and can lead the person to binge on those “taboo” foods when they get home in private.


According to Dr. Norton’s online survey, in which over 130 people responded, over half of those that binge often find themselves fantasizing about foods to binge on while grocery shopping.

Occurrence by Eating Disorder

* Bulimarexia – 57.1%

* Bulimia – 53.3%

* Emotional Eaters – 53.3%

If you are looking for Binge Eating Disorder Treatment in Cincinnati for yourself or your loved one, there is help available! Call 513-300-8042 to set up a consultation!

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2009, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

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