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Binge Eating Disorder - Topic Overview

A doctor can find out if you have binge eating disorder by asking questions about your eating habits and past health. Your doctor may also ask questions about your mental health and how you feel about food and the shape of your body. If you are overweight, your doctor may also do a physical exam to rule out problems caused by obesity.

Treatment for binge eating disorder includes getting counseling and, in some cases, taking medicine. Your doctor may have you do both. You may need treatment for a long time to fully recover. You also may need treatment for other problems that often occur with binge eating disorder. These can include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, obesity, or problems with being overweight.

Binge eating disorder most often starts in the late teens or the young-adult years, but it can begin in later adulthood too. It is more common in women than men.

Binge eating disorder can be triggered by dieting, depression, or anxiety. It can even start because of boredom or stress, which is then relieved by binging. Your risk for binge eating increases if:

  • You or your parents are overweight.
  • You or your parents have had depression or symptoms of depression.
  • You have a poor body image, which means that you don't like the way your body looks.
  • You were often told negative things about your weight, eating habits, or how your body looks.

Learning about binge eating disorder:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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