Binge eating disorder is a psychological illness characterised by frequently eating excessive amounts of food, often when not hungry.
Binges represent a distraction that allows a person to avoid thinking about the real root of their problems. Feelings of guilt, disgust and depression often follow a bingeing episode. Binge eating disorder is not the same as overeating, as it is recurrent and more serious.
Binge eating disorder is similar to — but not the same — as bulimia nervosa. Where people experiencing bulimia nervosa will partake in purging activities after bingeing (such as self-induced vomiting, fasting, over-exercising and/or the misuse of laxatives, enemas or diuretics), binge eating disorder is characterised by an absence of purging, despite experiencing similar feelings of intense guilt, shame and self-hatred after binges.
While a lack of purging is evident, a person experiencing binge eating disorder will often participate in sporadic fasts and repetitive diets in response to the negative feelings that follow a binge episode.
Binge eating disorder can affect anybody, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. In fact, research suggests equal percentages of males and females experience binge eating disorder.