Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterised by periods of binge eating or overeating. The person affected by BED may diet frequently, however they will not engage in purging behaviour after a binge. Over time this can, but may not always, result in significant weight gain.
Binges almost always occur in secret, and an appearance of ‘normal’ eating is often maintained in front of others. The food that is eaten is usually filling and high in calories. It tends to be food that people regard as fattening, and which they are attempting to exclude from their diet. The food is usually consumed very quickly, and is seldom tasted or enjoyed.
While in binge eating disorder there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets, and often feelings of shame or self-hatred surface after a binge.
A person affected by binge eating disorder may find themselves trapped in a cycle of dieting, binging, self-recrimination and self-loathing. They can feel particularly isolated which can contribute to the prolonging of their experience.