Binge eating disorder (B.E.D.) is a real medical disorder

Binge eating disorder is more than overeating. 

Among other symptoms, people with this disorder feel that they lose control over eating during a binge episode and are very upset by their recurring episodes. They may also eat in private because of feeling embarrassed by how much they eat during a binge. 

B.E.D. is the most common eating disorder among US adults. It’s more common than anorexia and bulimia combined.* So, if you’re concerned about B.E.D., know that you are not alone.

Talking with your health care professional is the only way to learn whether what you’re experiencing is B.E.D.

*Based on 12-month and lifetime prevalence estimates among 2,980 US adults aged ≥ 18 years who were assessed for an eating disorder in a national survey. 

“It was really comforting to finally have the words to describe it to somebody.”


Watch her story

Questions you may have about binge eating disorder: 

  • Are there B.E.D. support groups or communities?

    There are several community-outreach and national and nonprofit organizations you can turn to for help. Check out a list here

    Discuss any concerns you may have about your eating with your doctor.

    If you're concerned about your eating, fill out a B.E.D. Symptom Checklist and take it with you to your doctor. Only a trained health care professional can diagnose binge eating disorder. 

  • Does B.E.D. only occur in people who are overweight?

    No, that may be a common misperception.

    Binge eating disorder can affect adults of all sizes: normal-weight, overweight, and obese. 

  • What are the differences between B.E.D. and overeating?

    B.E.D. is far less common than overeating and far more severe. Overeating during a party or holiday meal is not considered binge eating disorder, even though the amount of food may be excessive for a typical meal.

    Among other symptoms, B.E.D. includes:

    • Regularly eating far more food than most adults would in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
    • Feeling that one's eating is out of control during a binge, and feeling very upset about it.

Binge eating disorder is not a choice; it is a neurobiological disorder


The exact cause of binge eating disorder is unknown, but certain theories suggest that adults with B.E.D. may have differences in brain chemistry that could:

  • Interfere with the ability to regulate food intake
  • Create or increase the "wanting" of a particular food

Family history and certain life experiences may also play a role.

If you are concerned about binge eating disorder, talk with your doctor. Only a health care professional can diagnose B.E.D.

Facts about Binge Eating Disorder


Binge eating disorder can occur in normal-weight, overweight, or obese adults.*

*Based on a sample of 2,980 US adults aged ≥ 18 years who were assessed for an eating disorder in a national survey.


B.E.D. is a real medical condition that was recognized as a distinct eating disorder in 2013.

Lifetime prevalence in adults more common than anorexia and bulimia combined.


Based on lifetime prevalence estimates among 2,980 US adults aged ≥ 18 years who were assessed for an eating disorder in a national survey.


Binge eating disorder affects approximately 2.8 million US adults, according to a national survey.

Based on 12-month prevalence estimates applied to the full US population ≥ 18 years.


B.E.D. occurs at a similar rate across non-Latino white (1.4%), Latino (2.1%), Asian (1.2%), and African American (1.5%) adults in the US.§

§Sample from combined data set of 3 nationally representative samples of US adults [non-Latino whites, Latinos, Asians, and African Americans].


Binge eating disorder affects both women and men. Based on percentage, two times as many women are affected as men in the US.//

//Based on 12-month prevalence estimates among 2,980 US adults aged ≥ 18 years.

“My eating behaviors finally have a name. It is a real condition and I got help.”

—PETER, Diagnosed with B.E.D.

You are about to leave

You are about to leave this website. Please be advised that Shire Pharmaceuticals has no control over the content or presentation of the site you are about to view. Shire’s Privacy Policy does not apply to the website you are about to visit.


You are about to leave

You are being directed to another website