What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. There are signs that indicate someone might have binge eating disorder, as well as a number of ways to get help.

This can help if:

  • you eat large amounts of food in a short period of time

  • you’re worried about your food intake

  • you feel like you have to hide the amount of food you eat.

Girl looking in refrigerator


A unique characteristic of binge eating disorder is that the person eats large amounts of food in a short period of time and feels a sense of loss of control while eating. Most people overeat every now and then, and it’s not uncommon to feel occasionally that you’ve eaten more than you needed to. However, binge eating disorder is characterised by continuing to eat even when feeling uncomfortably full, on a regular basis, often alone and in secret, and is accompanied by a sense of shame and guilt. Bingeing often happens during times of stress, anger, boredom or distress, and is used as a way of coping with difficult emotions.

Common signs

Some of the common signs of binge eating disorder are:

  • feeling that your eating is out of control

  • eating what most people would consider to be a large amount of food on a regular basis

  • eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable

  • eating large amounts of food, even when you’re not really hungry

  • being secretive about what you eat and when

  • feeling embarrassed by the amount of food you’ve eaten

  • feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty about overeating.

What can I do now?

  • Make an appointment with your GP to have an overall health check and discuss options for support.

  • Get personalised support options for eating disorders with the ReachOut NextStep tool.

  • Read about self-help tools for eating disorders.