Home » Conditions Treated » Binge-Eating Disorder Specialists in Overland Park, KS

What is Binge Eating?

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a severe, life-altering eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States.

Binge eating is more than just eating a lot of food in one sitting. It’s a distinct and severe condition that is characterized by specific behaviors, emotions, and thought patterns. Here’s a closer look:

  • Recurrent and Frequent Episodes: Binge eating episodes involve eating an amount of food that is significantly larger than what most people would eat in a similar time period under similar circumstances.
  • Sense of Lack of Control: During binge episodes, individuals feel a loss of control over their eating. This might mean eating when not hungry or eating in secret.
  • Emotional Disturbance: These episodes are often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, or distress. The individual might eat alone due to embarrassment about the quantity of food consumed.
  • No Compensatory Behaviors: Unlike bulimia nervosa, binge eating episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting.

How Binge Eating is Treated

Treating BED requires a comprehensive approach, often involving a team of health professionals, including a physician, a nutritionist, and a mental health professional. The treatment focuses on addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of the disorder. Key components of treatment include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is considered the gold standard of BED treatment. CBT helps individuals understand and change their thinking and behavior patterns related to binge eating. It focuses on identifying triggers, coping with stress, and developing a healthier relationship with food.
  • Medications: In some cases, medications can be beneficial. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse) for the treatment of moderate to severe binge eating disorder in adults.
  • Nutritional Counseling: Nutritionists can help create personalized eating plans to normalize eating patterns and improve nutrition.
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): This therapy focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and social functioning to reduce binge eating episodes.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT can be effective in teaching skills to manage emotions and reduce stress, which might be triggers for binge eating.
  • Group Therapy: Support or therapy groups can provide a supportive environment to share experiences and strategies.
  • Self-Help and Guided Self-Help: Books and online resources, sometimes guided by therapists, can be beneficial for some people.


Binge Eating Disorder is a complex and multifaceted condition requiring a personalized and compassionate approach to treatment. With the right support and treatment, individuals with BED can recover and regain control over their eating habits and their lives. As with any disorder, early intervention and treatment are critical for the best outcomes.