Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder, or BED, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating episodes that result in feelings of shame, guilt, or depression. Eating more than someone else in similar circumstances during a specified period of time, as well as feeling a lack of control over food consumption during that time, is considered binge eating. Three or more physical symptoms are also present during this time, such as eating more rapidly than normal or eating when not feeling hungry. The individual has marked distress from their binge eating. Binge eating occurs at least once per week for three months and does not occur during anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. There is also no inappropriate use of compensatory actions for the amount eaten, such as laxative use or inducing vomiting. Prevalence in the United States is about 1.6% of females and 0.8% of males. About 0.2%-3.5% of all females and 0.9%-2.0% of all males will develop BED. Treatment consists of mostly psychotherapy and nutrition counseling. Medications can help to treat underlying conditions that frequently come along with BED. The goal of therapy is to work though issues that lead to eating disorder and develop a better relationship with food consumption.


BED, like other eating disorders, affects mostly the social side of college life. Eating in and of itself does not affect academic performance, unless it takes up more than its allotted time per day. However, much of college life revolves around eating. Social outings typically revolve around a shared meal. But someone with BED has severe shame around these situations, and will often avoid them. Or they will binge eat and have guilt around people seeing them that way. College also comes with complete control over what, when, and how much you eat. Late night studying is often fueled by food. Students don’t have time to make food and dining options typically aren’t healthy. Anxiety and stress over school and other obligations can be hard to handle, for anyone. But for those who already have an eating disorder or are already predisposed to it, the stress can fuel the disease. The best course of action is treatment. Throughout treatment, the individual learns to handle food and themselves better, which will help in getting through social situations involving food. Without treatment, BED can lead to many health issues related to obesity. Enjoying college while maintaining academic status is the goal, and is completely possible with an eating disorder.