When my 14-year-old daughter and her friends are hanging out at
our house, it seems like they're always raiding the refrigerator! I
didn't think anything about it but then I heard about this thing
called a binge eating disorder. What is it? And should I be
Binge eating, also called compulsive overeating, is different
from simply overeating now and then, like at sleepovers.
Teens with binge eating disorder feel a powerful urge to
overeat, regularly eat large amounts of food, and don't stop
when they become full. They feel out of control and powerless to
stop eating. Other signs of binge eating are feeling guilty or
acting secretively about the large amounts of food eaten. Sometimes
these binges are triggered by emotional stresses, which may occur
with problems with friends, academic difficulties, or fighting with
However, many teens can have huge appetites, especially during
growth spurts, when they need more nutrients to fuel their growing
bodies. So it can be difficult to determine whether a teen has
binge eating disorder.
If you think your child may have a problem with binge eating,
talk to your doctor. Successful treatments are available that can
help teens to feel better about themselves and to have a healthy
relationship with food.
For more information, check out these articles:
Binge Eating Disorder
Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: January 2007
Originally reviewed by:
Neil Izenberg, MD
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