Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is similar to Bulimia Nervosa in that patients with BED have recurrent episodes of uncontrollable eating. BED differs from Bulimia in that patients do not engage in behaviors to prevent weight gain after binging, such as self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or misuse of laxatives. Many people view BED as a moral weakness or character flaw.
We now recognize that BED is the result of changes in the brain that affect the functioning of the reward system. Patients with BED frequently have problems with concentration and impulsivity causing patients to be very sensitive to rewarding things like food, but also shopping or sexual activity. Medications that target the brain reward system are now available for treatment of BED.