The Obesity Made Simple Blog

Does My Patient Have an Overeating Disorder?

Dec 01, 2022


                        Does My Patient Have an Overeating Disorder?


Overeating Disorder 

If patients suffer from binge-eating disorder, they struggle to control their eating and may regularly overeat. Binge-eating disorder is diagnosed in those whose overeating becomes so severe that it interferes with their daily lives.

Possible Contributing Factors

Women suffer from binge eating disorders at higher rates than males. Binge eating disorder is more common in people's late teens and early 20s, but it can affect anyone at any age.

Some of the things that can put you over the edge into binge-eating disorder territory are the following:


  • Genetic Predisposition


 If a parent or sibling has (or had), you are considerably more likely to develop an eating issue. Possible evidence that eating disorders are strongly linked to genetics.


  • Dieting


Dieting is a common factor in the development of the binge-eating disorder. When you diet or cut back on calories during the day, you may feel the need to binge later on, especially if you also struggle with depression.


  • Problems with one's mental health


A significant portion of the population who suffers from binge-eating disorder has a low sense of self-worth. Stress, negative body image, and easy access to favorite binge foods are all potential binge eating triggers.

Questions to ask patients when concerned they may have an Overeating Disorder:

  • Do you ever feel bad about what you've eaten?
  • Do you worry a lot about getting fat?
  • Why do you have to be alone to eat?
  • Do you ever try to ignore your hunger?
  • Are you one of those people who keep eating even if they're full?
  • Do you substitute medication or physical activity for meals?
  • How often do you get on the scale daily?
  • Is your self-appraisal focused on how your body looks?
  • Do you typically consume a lot of food in a short period of time?
  • How do you feel about losing control of your eating habits?
  • To keep from gaining weight, do you ever induce vomiting?
  • Use laxatives or diuretics frequently to help you shed pounds.
  • Do you push through a workout no matter how weak or ill you feel?
  • How often do you skip meals in an effort to control your weight?
  • How often do you diet?
  • Do you work out multiple times daily?
  • Are you a food hoarder?
  • Does what you're feeling affect what you eat?
  • Are you constantly thinking about what you eat and how you look?
  • Do you try to keep a safe distance from people or refrain from participating in group activities?
  • Do you ever feel powerless in the face of your insatiable hunger?


Practitioners can use this tool as a screening: BED 7 scale 

This tool is a self-reported questionnaire that helps  medical doctors to screen for Binge Eating Disorder

The following questions ask about your eating patterns and behaviors within the last 3 months.  


1. During the last 3 months, did you have any episodes of excessive overeating (i.e., eating significantly more than what most people would eat in a similar period of time)?








2. Do you feel distressed about your episodes of excessive overeating?







Within the past 3 months…

Never or Rarely







3. During your episodes of excessive overeating, how often did you feel like you had no control over your eating (e.g., not being able to stop eating, feeling compelled to eat, or going back and forth for more food)?





4. During your episodes of excessive overeating, how often did you continue eating even though you were not hungry?





5. During your episodes of excessive overeating, how often were you embarrassed by how much you ate?





6. During your episodes of excessive overeating, how often did you feel disgusted with yourself or guilty afterward?





7. During the last 3 months, how often did you make yourself vomit as a means to control your weight or shape?






How To Treat Overeating Disorder

The goal is to reduce binge eating and establish healthy eating patterns. Since binge eating is often intertwined with feelings of shame, low self-esteem, and other negative emotions, treatment may also aim to improve these and other mental health disorders, such as depression. 

Psychotherapy (or "talk therapy") can be helpful for individuals and groups alike in helping people learn to replace destructive behaviors with more positive ones and lessen the frequency and severity of binging episodes. 

Therapy is based on the principles of cognitive behaviorism (CBT). Binge-eating triggers including body image concerns and depression may be more manageable with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, it may help patients feel more in command of their actions and eating habits.

Counseling and psychotherapy that focuses on relationships. The emphasis in this modality of treatment is on how patients interact with others. Patients' relationships with those around them, at home and at work, will benefit from their efforts to hone their interpersonal skills. Possible benefit for lowering interpersonal and communication-related binge eating.

Behavior modification through dialectics. Binge eating can be reduced by learning behavioral skills in this type of therapy that help the patient deal with stress, control emotions, and enhance social interactions.



If you struggle in your practice to identify and treat patients with Binge Eating Disorder, then join Obesity made Simple: Blueprint to Treatment Success course to learn how to effectively and efficiently treat patients with obesity. This obesity course also will provide you with CME credit. Drs. Jeffrey and Michelle Shukhman give you real-life examples and tools you can apply in your practice today. Check out Obesity Made Easy right away! You can email us at [email protected] if you have any queries or comments.