Overview of Binge Eating Disorder

Heather A. Davis, Andrea K. Graham*, Jennifer E. Wildes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent binge eating episodes (i.e., eating an objectively large amount of food accompanied by a sense of loss of control while eating) in the absence of regular compensatory behavior. BED follows a chronic course marked by significant dysfunction and impairment. This review focuses on advances in the understanding of BED, including its diagnosis, correlates, risk factors, and treatment, with particular attention to the past 5 to 8 years. Recent Findings: BED remains the most common eating disorder in the USA and globally. BED occurs across the lifespan and among diverse gender, racial, and ethnic groups. Risk for and maintenance of BED results from multiple psychological, biological, and sociocultural factors. First-line treatment for reducing binge eating is cognitive behavioral therapy, with efficacy for interpersonal psychotherapy as well. Lisdexamfetamine is an FDA-approved medication for moderate to severe cases of BED. Summary: Even with advances in its diagnosis and treatment, better assessment and understanding of BED in diverse gender, racial, and ethnic populations is needed. Studies of shared risk factors underlying BED and comorbid disorders may lead to a greater understanding of mechanisms for intervention. Future research should prioritize evaluating the implementation of established treatments among populations in need, as well as establishing new interventions that can be scaled for delivery in real-world settings. Given overlap between BED and overweight/obesity, a continued focus on developing treatments that effectively address binge eating and weight management is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalCurrent Cardiovascular Risk Reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Binge eating disorder
  • Diagnosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Mechanisms
  • Risk factors
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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