Binge Eating Disorder


You can have a hot eating disorder if you eat frequently and regularly without being able to control you, and get large amounts of food in a short time. Afterward, you will experience guilt and shame. The hot-eating disorder can lead to physical and mental illness if left untreated. Most people who receive treatment become healthy.

Hot-eating disorder is also called BED, after the English binge eating disorder. Just as with the eating disorder bulimia, it means that you have problems with hot eating, but with the difference that you do not try to get rid of what you have eaten afterward.

How do I know that I have a hot-eating disorder?

It can take time to develop an eating disorder, and sometimes it can be difficult to notice when it has become a disease. You may have the hot-eating disorder if you have any of these problems:

  • You eat frequently and regularly in an uncontrolled way, which means that you get very large amounts of food in a short time. When you eat hot you feel that you lose control of what and how much you eat.
  • The foods that you eat are often – but not always – foods that you otherwise try to avoid, such as high in fat, salt, sugar or other carbohydrates.
  • After you have been seated, you feel shame, disgust, and guilt. You may also have anxiety. 
  • You do everything possible to hide your heat eating, are ashamed and feel abandoned over your behavior.

If you recognize any of the descriptions above, you may have a hot-eating disorder. Then it is important that you seek professional help. The earlier you seek care, the better.

Usually to hide the problems

If you are very ashamed of your behavior, you might try to hide the problems and pretend that everything is fine. You may begin to isolate yourself so that no one will understand what you are doing. Then it can take an unnecessarily long time before you seek help. If the decision to seek help feels great and difficult, it may be good to start by talking to someone you trust. Read more about what you can do in the chapter on seeking care.

What is a hot eating disorder?

A hot eating disorder is a common form of an eating disorder. You can get hot eating disorder regardless of gender and age. Often, it is not noticed that you have a heat disorder, because you hide their problems for the environment. Overeating means that you regularly and uncontrollably eat large amounts of food in a short period of time. It may be food that you otherwise avoid in order not to gain weight. For example, it may be chips, sandwiches, ice cream or sweets, but this is not always the case for everyone.

Many people do not understand that it is a disease

It is common that you do not even know that heat-eating disorder is a disease that can be treated for. Instead, it is common for those who are ill to blame themselves and hide their problems. About half of those who have hot-eating disorders have overweight or obesity, and the proportion of overweight people is higher the longer they have had their hot-eating problems.

Recurring episodes 

When you ban yourself from eating certain things, your body gets a craving for just such food. The craving for the forbidden food can provoke an attack of hot eating. Such an attack is called an episode in another word.  When you eat hot you eat even though you do not feel physical hunger. You eat very fast and continue until you feel uncomfortable. Most often the hot-eating episodes occur in solitude. Afterward, it is common for you to feel depression, guilt, shame and disgust about yourself.  If you have a hot eating disorder you have recurring episodes when you are eating hot. The episodes often occur in situations when you feel depressed, sad, confused, stressed or anxious and the heat can then temporarily be felt like a comfort. But since the heat-setting also evokes shame and guilt after each episode, the feeling of comfort becomes short-lived.  

A pattern that is repeated

If you have hot-eating disorder, you usually follow a certain pattern, which is often repeated several times a day, or several times a week. Here is a typical process:

  • Before the heat, you can feel an increasing craving for “forbidden” food and the thought of eating it comes more and more often.  
  • During the heat of eating, it may feel like you are losing control, and you get a feeling that you will not be able to stop eating once you have started.
  • After the heat, you get feelings of guilt and anxiety over everything you have eaten. You are ashamed that you fail to control yourself and torment yourself with thoughts on your body ideal and feel an abandonment of who you have become. You can feel disgusted and sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness for the future. 
  • Shame and anxiety become a driving force that repeats the pattern.

Self-feeling is affected

If you have a heat-eating disorder, your self-esteem is often exaggerated depending on body shape and weight. You are often dissatisfied with yourself. Thoughts constantly revolve around food, your ability to concentrate is affected and you sleepless. You can switch between hopes of finally being able to take control and being happy with yourself, and a sense of hopelessness when you think it will never happen.

Common with other mental illness

It is common for you to be depressed or depressed if you have a hot eating disorder. As you feel shame and guilt over your behavior, you can begin to avoid social interaction and gain an increasingly negative self-image. It is common for you to get anxiety and phobias. You can also get suicidal thoughts, start hurting yourself or develop an addiction, such as alcohol.

What happens in the body?

Experiences of hunger and satiety are controlled by a signal system in the brain. When everything works smoothly, the body shows that you need to eat by feeling hungry. After you get the energy you need, the body signals that it is measured. When you suffer from a heart disorder, this system is put off balance. 

Attempts to lose weight have the opposite effect

Many people who suffer from the heat-eating disorder are constantly struggling with attempts to refrain from eating to try to lose weight. It causes blood sugar to drop and we feel tired, out of focus, or in a bad mood. 

The body then wants to restore the energy balance, and signals that you need to eat something quickly that restores your blood sugar level. You feel this as if you are craving something sweet. 

Increased sweetness and mood swings

If you eat something sweet in these situations, your blood sugar level is temporarily restored but drops quickly again, and you get tired again, in a bad mood and sweet. 

This often turns into a negative repetitive behavior pattern where you skip or eat too little at the planned meals, and then eat between meals. 

Energy consumption decreases and calories are stored

When you eat too little, your body prepares for starvation by reducing energy consumption. When the heart attack comes, the body has become accustomed to coping with less energy. 

Therefore, the body’s natural reaction is to store the calories from the heat eating instead of burning them. People who have had long-term problems with eating disorders often, therefore, have problems with being overweight or obese. 

Fatigue and powerlessness

If you have irregular habits, it can cause you to feel tired and powerless. Then you will not be able to be physically active. The lack of energy can make you feel dejected and unsuccessful. It increases the risk of you having to sit down to relieve the painful feelings.

When should I seek care?

You may have a heat disorder if you recognize in the descriptions above. Then it is important that you first and foremost talk to someone in health care and talk about your problems, and get advice on how you can correct them.

If you find it difficult to seek care, ask someone to accompany you. The earlier you seek care, the better. 

You are under 18 years of age

You who are under 18 can contact a health care center, a youth clinic, student health or child and adolescent psychiatry, bup. 

You who are over 18 years old

If you are 18 years of age or older, you can book time at a health care center, psychiatric clinic or occupational health care if you work. You who are up to 20-25 years can also contact a youth reception.

Special receptions

Many county councils have special eating disorders. At some clinics, you need a referral from the student health or medical center, but in several places, you can contact yourself.

Try again if the help didn’t work

If you have previously received help somewhere but do not think it worked, try again somewhere else. Talking to different people can work well. It is also different from how it feels during different periods. Sometimes it may take time before it feels right to receive help.

What can I do for myself?

You can start by finding out as much as possible about heat disorder and how it is treated. This can be a first step towards seeking help. 

There are several good self-help books that can provide important information and knowledge, but also contain a step-by-step program that you can follow. For some, a self-help program may be just the help you need to fix your eating disorder. For others, more help and support may be needed. 

For example, you can contact a support society such as Frisk & Fri or  Eating Disorder Zone, the latter if you define yourself as a girl. There you can get advice and support, and also help find out what treatment of hot eating disorder options are available in your home.

Good food, sleep and exercise 

You may need to learn more about healthy eating, exercise and sleep, and what your body needs to feel good, and how to distinguish between hunger and sweetness. Healthy eating and exercise habits can help you to correct your eating disorder, but avoid following specific diets or weight loss programs.

It often risks instead of leading to an increased suction, which can lead to a new hot-eating episode. Instead, it is good if you try to eat and move enough so that the body gets what it needs. 

Repair your self-esteem

It may be good to think about which psychological or social factors you believe are behind your eating disorder and try to accept yourself and build up your self-esteem again. There are things you can do to train your self-esteem. 

For example, if you have depression, it may be important to correct it in the first place. It may increase your chances of changing your eating behavior. 

Seek support from others

In order to get out of your feelings of shame and guilt, it is important that you break your isolation, and start talking about your problem. For example, you can contact any of the online associations that offer support and assistance via chat, email, and phone.  

You can also start by talking to a good friend or someone you trust. By opening up and telling you about your problems, you can gain new perspectives. It often turns out that you are not as alone as you think, but that others can recognize you in you, and you in others. 

What can I get for the treatment of hot eating disorder?

Treatment of heat-related disorder usually consists of some form of psychotherapy or psychological treatment. You can also get medicines. Before your treatment of hot eating disorder can begin, you must first get a proper investigation and assessment.

How is the assessment done?

You get to answer questions about your eating behavior and how you feel about life in general. Sometimes you have to fill in different questionnaires to map the problems. At many specialized units, this is done by filling out forms where you answer different questions about how you feel and what daily habits you have.

Then you and the person making the assessment go through the results and discuss what may be a suitable treatment for you. You can also go through a general body examination, weigh yourself and submit different samples. If you are under 18, parents are also usually interviewed. The assessment is often done at a specialized reception and means that you need to come in about 3-4 visits.

Treatment with psychotherapy

The methods of therapy that have been found to be particularly effective in treating heat disorders are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (KBT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT). Both treatments consist of between 16-24 treatment sessions, spread over about six months.

In the beginning, you usually meet with the therapist once a week, and then at the end, slip out the contact. Both treatment methods can be offered both individually and in groups and KBT is also available as internet treatment. You can read more about Internet treatment in the article on psychotherapy and psychological treatment.


Often, the treatment is done by visiting regular care visits, for example, once a week. In some specialized eating disorders, there is also daycare, where you cook and eat food together, and participate in various group activities. In daycare, patients with different eating disorders are often involved.

A daycare treatment or hot eating disorder often means that you participate in the program a few days a week for a certain number of weeks.  Read more about different treatments in the article on eating disorders. 

Treatment with drugs

You can also get treatment with antidepressants. The medicine can help against both the swallowing suction and the possible depression that is behind or developed as a result of the eating disorder.

Overweight treatment can be the next step

You may have sought help to get rid of your overweight, and in connection with that, will come to understand about your eating disorder. Although the treatment for hot eating does not aim to get rid of overweight in the first place, the treatment in the long term can still be the first step towards weight loss.

After finishing the treatment for the eating disorder, you can discuss with your therapist efforts to correct any overweight. Your therapist can then help you get in touch with appropriate efforts, and maybe refer you to an overweight unit.

Most will be fine again

When you are sickest, it may feel like you will never be well or will never feel happy again, but it is not at all. It is possible to get rid of the heat-eating disorder. 

Feelings of shame may make it difficult for you to talk about how you feel. It is quite common to think that you are alone in having these problems. But you are not alone, and you do not need to continue to have eating disorders. It is a problem that you have, and that you can get rid of.

The road back can be long and difficult, but it is never late to be free from the disease. Even if you have been living with heart disorder for many years, you can be better or completely healthy. If you seek help, through health care or in a support group, you increase your chances of being healthy.

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