Butterfly Eating Disorder

What is Butterfly Eating Disorder?

Butterfly Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder characterized by extreme overeating in episodes, followed by feelings of guilt, shame and depression. It is also known as binge-eating disorder, and is the most common eating disorder in the United States. People with BED experience recurrent episodes of consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time, often during a single meal. They often feel powerless to control their eating behavior and are unable to stop eating even when full.

What are the Symptoms of Butterfly Eating Disorder?

Individuals with Butterfly Eating Disorder may display a number of symptoms, including:

  • Eating a large amount of food in a short period of time
  • Eating much more rapidly than normal
  • Eating until feeling extremely full or uncomfortable
  • Eating large amounts of food even when not hungry
  • Frequently eating alone due to embarrassment
  • Feeling guilty, disgusted or ashamed after overeating
  • Withdrawing from activities due to shame regarding weight gain or body image

What Causes Butterfly Eating Disorder?

The exact cause of Butterfly Eating Disorder is not known. However, it is thought to be linked to genetics, environmental factors, and psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, depression and poor coping skills. People with BED may also have an unhealthy relationship with food, which can include using food as a way to cope with emotions or to avoid difficult situations. Additionally, dieting can be a trigger for BED as restricting food intake can lead to intense cravings and binging episodes.

Who is at Risk for Developing Butterfly Eating Disorder?

Anyone can develop Butterfly Eating Disorder; however, certain factors can increase the risk. These include:

  • Being female
  • Having a family history of eating disorders or obesity
  • Having low self-esteem or body image issues
  • Having a history of dieting or weight cycling (repeatedly losing and gaining weight)

What Are the Complications Associated With Butterfly Eating Disorder?

Left untreated, Butterfly Eating Disorder can lead to serious physical and mental health complications, including:

    • Weight gain and obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
    • Depression and anxiety.
    • Digestive problems.
    • Damage to teeth and gums.


How Can Butterfly Eating Disorder Be Treated?


If you think you or someone you know may have Butterfly Eating Disorder, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional. Treatment typically includes a combination of individual counseling, group therapy, nutrition counseling and medication. The goal of treatment is to help the individual gain control over his or her eating behavior and learn healthy coping skills for dealing with stress, anxiety and other triggers for overeating.




Butterfly Eating Disorder is a serious disorder that can have long-term effects on physical and mental health if left untreated. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help individuals gain control over their eating behavior and develop healthier relationships with food. If you think you may have BED or know someone who does, it’s important to seek professional help right away.