Binge eating happens when you eat larger amounts of food than normal in a very short period of time.\nThis condition is sometimes called \u201ccompulsive overeating\u201d and can lead to a variety of unhealthy side effects, including:\n\nObesity\nDepression\nAnxiety\n\nFor many of us, the occasional \u201cbinge,\u201d is not a big deal: You\u2019re busy during the day, so you skip lunch and eat too much for dinner, for example.\nBut for people who chronically binge eat, the habit can be hard to control and often comes with feelings of guilt and unhappiness. Like most eating disorders, these actions can be brought on by stress, anxiety, and depression. Episodes of overeating can sometimes offer temporary relief from these feelings.\nUnderstanding Binge Eating Disorders\nWhile it might be normal to overeat from time to time, a binge eating disorder can be more serious. Signs that you have a binge eating disorder include:\n\nEating because you are sad, angry, lonely, or bored\nEating so much that you feel sick\nEating alone because you are embarrassed about how much you eat\n\nFor people with this disorder, episodes typically occur twice a week for at least six months.\nDevelop a Plan for Your Binge Eating Disorder\nDon\u2019t get discouraged after a binge. Instead, learn from it by developing a plan that will help you control your eating habits.\nBegin by figuring out what causes you to overeat. Then, set measurable goals for yourself, and keep track of your progress by writing in a journal. Make a list of pros and cons, describing how you feel after a binge eating episode. Keep that list handy to prevent yourself from binging in the future.\nManaging Stress\nFor many people, stress and anxiety bring about binge eating episodes. Finding other ways to manage stress can help you feel better about yourself and keep you from binge eating in the future.\nCommon ways to reduce stress include:\n\nExercising\nReading\nAdopting a hobby\nTalking to a friend or family member\n\nGetting Help for Binge Eating\nIf you find that these techniques are not helping, or you think you could have a more serious eating disorder, talk to your doctor right away. Early treatment can\u00a0prevent binge eating from becoming a more serious disorder. Learn more by visiting the UPMC Behavioral and Mental Health Services webpage.