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Causes of Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge eating disorder (BED) develops from a complex combination of genetic, psychological and sociocultural factors.

The family tie to BED and food addictions

Approximately 95 percent of patients with BED had a parent with BED or substance abuse issues, which underscores the genetic influence of this condition. There are also neurobiological components to loss-of-control eating behaviors and a complex set of hormones influence and determine hunger and satiety cues as well as how we feel, think and behave around food.

Psychological predispositions for BED

Psychological factors can also prime an individual to binge eat. Those most likely to struggle with BED tend to have:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative body image
  • Feelings of inadequacy and loneliness.

Binge eating disorder sufferers often struggle with co-occurring mood and anxiety disorders, have experienced some kind of trauma, or struggle to navigate developmental milestones and life changes.

A culture obsessed with body image

The larger cultural narrative around dieting, binge eating and obesity is a prominent sociocultural factor influencing the development of binge eating disorder. Dieting and weight loss have become synonymous with “healthy living,” while other cultural messages suggest that we have 100 percent control over our eating and weight, or that willpower drives normal eating, weight loss and overall health.

This rhetoric fosters shame and embarrassment for individuals struggling with BED, many of whom are chronic dieters without weight loss success.

Do you think you or someone you know is suffering from this eating disorder? Take our short binge eating disorder quiz.

No matter what the cause, seek help for binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder is often shrouded in shame and isolation. Please call us at 877-825-8584 to speak with an ERC Masters-level clinician who can help you understand your treatment options and guide you into the program that’s right for you.

Learn more about our Binge Eating and Treatment Recovery Program.

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