Eating Disorders Awareness Week (1-7 March)

We are supporting Eating Disorder week which is taking place 1-7 March 2021. Beat is hosting the campaign to create a future where people experiencing binge eating disorder are met with understanding and compassion.
eating disorders

Binge eating disorder will affect one in fifty of us in our lifetime, it is the most common but least understood Eating Disorder. It isn’t about being greedy or lacking in willpower, but a serious mental illness which many suffer alone, often with the fear of how others might react being the reason they don’t reach out for help. 

Together, let’s raise awareness and let them know they’re not alone. 

"You might think you don’t know me, but you probably do. I could be your sister, your husband, or your neighbour. I am one in 50 people. I live with a binge eating disorder, and there are some things I want you to know."


What is a binge eating disorder? 

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious mental illness where people eat very large quantities of food without feeling like they’re in control of what they’re doing. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, ethnicity or background. 

Certain emotions, under-eating throughout the day, or being alone may trigger binges. Often people binge on foods they would usually avoid. Binges usually take place in private. The person may eat regular meals too, or restrict their food outside the binges. Unlike those with bulimia, people with BED do not regularly use purging methods such as vomiting after a binge. 

Signs include: 

  • Spending a lot of time thinking about food 

  • A sense of being out of control around food, or a loss of control when eating 

  • Eating very rapidly, when not hungry, or until uncomfortably full 

  • Organising time around binges 

  • Feelings of guilt and shame after bingeing 

  • Feeling anxious and tense, especially about eating around others 

  • Social withdrawal and isolation 

  • Irritability and mood swings 

  • Low confidence and self-esteem 

  • Tiredness 

  • Difficulty sleeping 

  • Weight gain 

  • Impact on education or employment 

Click here for more information and advice from Beat about binge eating disorders.  

How serious is a binge eating disorder? 

BED can affect all areas of a person’s life, disrupting employment and education, causing social withdrawal, and leading to low confidence and self-esteem. As well as causing significant emotional distress, BED can seriously impact physical health. Eating disorders can be fatal due to physical effects or suicide. 

Going to the GP 

If you’re worried you or someone you know has binge eating disorder, it’s important to get treatment as early as possible to ensure the best chance of recovery. The first step is usually to book a GP appointment. 

It can be hard to talk about your illness with a doctor, but remember, it is an illness, and as serious as any other eating disorder. It’s not your fault, and you deserve help to get better. 

Evidence-based guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are clear on best practice when treating BED. Healthcare professionals should consider these guidelines when looking at your needs and deciding on treatment. 

For more information: 

For advice, guidance and support, go to: 

Beat helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am – 8pm during the week and 4pm-8pm on weekends and bank holidays.  

Or talk one-to-one with Beat using their web chat here:  

Looking for information about health and care?

Find advice and information to help you stay well and make decisions about your health and social care support.

Find advice and information