A Growing Problem In India: Is binge eating a mental disorder?

30 November 2023 | News

Eating disorders are becoming more and more of a problem for India at present, particularly among females.

Image Source : Shutterstock

Image Source : Shutterstock

A recent study found that as obesity and lifestyle disorders continue to grow, binge eating is becoming a common problem, with around 50% of young people showing signs of binge eating tendencies, as well as almost 37% of cases being classed as severe.


That’s a worrying statistic, and a clear sign that more people in the country are requiring binge eating disorder treatment by the day. Before that, though, more understanding of what it actually is is undoubtedly needed to.


In India, the escalating concern of binge eating has raised questions about its classification as a mental disorder. Binge eating, characterized by consuming large quantities of food in a short period, often accompanied by a lack of control, has become increasingly prevalent. This behavior transcends mere indulgence and is now being scrutinized for its potential ties to mental health. Many experts argue that binge eating may be indicative of underlying psychological issues, such as stress, depression, or anxiety. The societal pressure to conform to certain body standards and the availability of high-calorie, easily accessible foods contribute to the problem. As the conversation around mental health gains momentum in India, addressing the potential classification of binge eating as a mental disorder becomes crucial for developing effective intervention strategies and promoting overall well-being


The intricate relationship between binge eating and mental health in India underscores the need for a nuanced understanding of this phenomenon. Beyond its physical implications, binge eating is increasingly recognized as a coping mechanism for individuals grappling with emotional challenges. The stigmatization of mental health issues in the country exacerbates the problem, often leading individuals to turn to food as a source of solace. This behavior, however, can create a vicious cycle, as the consequences of binge eating contribute to further emotional distress. Recognizing binge eating as a potential mental disorder is a pivotal step in dismantling the stigma surrounding mental health in India and fostering a more compassionate and holistic approach to well-being. As the nation grapples with this growing issue, initiatives to raise awareness and provide accessible mental health support are crucial components of a comprehensive strategy to address the multifaceted nature of binge eating.

Defining Binge Eating Disorder

So, what exactly is binge eating disorder? Well, it is officially recognised as a mental health condition and essentially involves those suffering enduring recurrent episodes of consuming an excessive amount of food, often to a point of discomfort or sickness.


What distinguishes it as a disorder is the lack of control that comes alongside it, which can be incredibly problematic for those going through it.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

That uncontrollable nature of binge eating disorder is the most common sympton. However, you often find that they also eat a lot quicker than normal during those episodes, even if not physically hungry.


Emotions such as guilt, shame and distress are notable during binge eating episodes, which can lead to further mental health conditions such as depression.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

But what causes it? Well, that’s a complex question and the answer is rather multifaceted. Things like family history and other mental health issues can contribute, while the environment we find ourselves in, alongside the stress we’re under can also be a factor.


Body dissatisfaction is also a common reason people find themselves developing an eating disorder, particularly during an age where social media heaps pressure on young people to look a certain way.

Getting treatment

Naturally, binge eating disorders have a huge impact on a person’s health, and can cause a number of physical health conditions, habing an impact on your cardiovascular system, cholesterol levels and more.


Recognising the problem is key to getting help, with many rehab centres now available to treat people and help people manage their disorder. It’s hugely important to take such a step, improving your health and future for a healthier and happier lifestyle.


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