Bulimia and Binge

Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder Difference

All eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, obesity, and in this case binge eating disorder, which is little known, have many things in common and sometimes it is not easy to differentiate them. It is even quite common for people to have all or almost all of the disorders over time, so they may be alternating between one and the other. In this case, we are going to focus only on binge eating disorder and bulimia, which are the ones that can be confused more easily.

To begin to know the difference between bulimia and binge eating disorder, it is necessary to mention that what we call “binge eating” is the episodes in which a person feels a great need to eat very large amounts of food, and doing so causes them to experience a great feeling of guilt that does not leave her alone and causes her a lot of discomfort. In this Psychologyorg article: the difference between bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder, we are going to explain in detail the concept and characteristics of both disorders to finally let you know their main differences.

Symptoms and definition of bulimia


Bulimia or bulimia nervosa is a severe eating disorder that can actually lead to death. This type of disorder is characterized by an excessive concern for body image, which causes the person to experience a loss of control over their impulses regarding food. This loss of control is reflected in the person’s constant binge eating followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors that are performed in order to control weight, such as self-induced vomiting, fasting, excessive use of laxatives, and/or enemas, etc.

Bulimia nervosa is divided, according to the compensatory behavior to control weight, into two types, purgative and non-purging, which we will briefly explain below:

  • Purgative type. This refers to the fact that the person chooses a compensatory method of weight control to perform behaviors such as, for example, causing vomiting, the use of laxatives, enemas, and/or diuretics.
  • Non-purging type. As a compensatory method, the person chooses to perform behaviors such as fasting for a long time, exercising excessively, following a strict diet, etc.

Symptoms of bulimia

There are some biological, dynamic, and behavioral signs and manifestations that suggest that a person may be mourning from bulimia. Among the main signs and symptoms are the following:

  • Exaggerated fear of gaining weight.
  • Sudden changes in body weight.
  • Losing control over food intake.
  • Rumination of food, that is to say, that the person chews and regurgitates the food many times before swallowing it.
  • Sore throat caused by self-inducing vomiting constantly.
  • Spit out the food before swallowing it.
  • Constant mood swings.
  • depression.
  • Dissatisfaction with body image.
  • Wear of tooth enamel is caused by the constant contact of teeth with stomach acid.
  • Fatigue and tiredness.
  • In women, irregular menstruation.
Bulimia and Binge

Binge Eating Disorder: Definition and Symptoms

Binge eating disorder is characterized by constant episodes of binge eating. The person who suffers from this type of disorder frequently consumes very large amounts of food in a relatively short time, having the feeling of having lost control over that uncontrolled or binge eating. Therefore, after this episode, the person begins to experience anguish and excessive concern for having done it, but above all for thinking about the consequences that this can bring to their body image.

To know if it is really a binge eating disorder, it is necessary that the following characteristics are present:

  • Uncontrolled eating or binge eating must occur at least once a week for a period of 3 months.
  • The person must eat much faster than is considered normal.
  • A large amount of food is consumed despite not being hungry.
  • Because of the shame felt by the person with this disorder, they often eat alone so others don’t see how much they eat.
  • You eat until you feel uncomfortably full.
  • At the end of the binge, the person experiences a lot of anguish, and guilt, and feels bad about himself for having carried out this type of behavior.

Difference Between Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder

After having explained in detail about both disorders, we will now know the three main differences between bulimia and binge eating disorder.

compensatory behaviors

  • In bulimia, the individual portrays inadequate compensatory manners to control their body weight, such as exerting excessively, making themselves vomit, using enemas and/or laxatives, etc.
  • In binge eating disorder, someone does not carry out any type of compensatory manners to control their body significance, They feel the suffering and discomfort generated by having consumed a large quantity of foodstuffs, but in the end, they stay there, they do nothing to try to “remedy” it.

sudden weight changes

  • In bulimia, it is very distinctive for a person to encounter sudden shifts in weight due to frequent binge eating and inadequate tries to control it. The person tends to gain and lose weight in a relatively short period of time.
  • In binge eating disorder, since the person does not carry out some type of compensatory behavior to control weight, they do not tend to have this type of sudden change in their weight.

physical signs

  • In bulimia nervosa, the person shows physical signs such as tooth enamel wear or a sore throat due to stomach acid caused by vomiting.
  • In binge eating disorder, because the person does not perform compensatory behaviors, these types of signs do not appear. It is common for people who suffer from this disorder to be people who later present obesity, a condition that does not occur frequently in bulimia.
Bulimia and Binge


In conclusion, it is evident that there are significant differences between bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, despite their shared characteristics of excessive food consumption. Bulimia nervosa is described by a revolution of binge eating followed by cleansing behaviors, such as vomiting or extreme exercise, often driven by a longing to control weight and body portrait.

On the other hand, binge eating disorder entails recurrent episodes of consuming large amounts of food without the compensatory purging behaviors seen in bulimia. Instead, individuals with binge eating disorder experience feelings of guilt, shame, and distress following binges.

These disorders have distinct diagnostic criteria, psychological underpinnings, and potential health consequences. Comprehending these distinctions is crucial for accurate diagnosis and proper treatment planning.

While both disorders can have serious physical and emotional implications, targeted interventions tailored to the specific characteristics of each disorder can lead to more effective outcomes. Further research and awareness are essential to continually improve our understanding of these disorders and provide better support for individuals struggling with them.


What is the primary difference between bulimia and binge eating?

The primary distinction between bulimia and binge eating lies in the subsequent behavior. Bulimia involves recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by behaviors such as purging (vomiting, laxative use) or excessive exercise to prevent weight gain. Binge eating disorder, on the other hand, concerns attacks of extreme eating without the comprehensive behaviors seen in bulimia.

What is one of the main differences between bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa?

One of the main differences between bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa is the individual’s weight. People with anorexia nervosa often have a significantly low body weight due to severe restriction of food intake, whereas those with bulimia nervosa might maintain a relatively normal weight due to alternating periods of binge eating and purging.

What is the primary distinction between bulimia nervosa and binge quizlet?

The primary distinction between bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder is that bulimia nervosa involves compensatory behaviors, such as purging or excessive exercise, following episodes of binge eating. Binge eating disorder is characterized by excessive eating without these compensatory behaviors.

What are the similarities and two differences between bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa?

Similarities: a) Both are eating disorders characterized by distorted body image and concerns about weight and shape. b) Both can lead to significant physical and psychological health issues.
Differences: a) Anorexia nervosa involves severe restriction of food intake, leading to very low body weight, while bulimia nervosa involves binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors. b) Anorexia nervosa is often associated with an intense fear of gaining weight, whereas bulimia nervosa might involve less intense weight-related fears.

What are the two subtypes of bulimia nervosa?

The two subtypes of bulimia nervosa are the purging subtype and the non-purging subtype. The purging subtype involves regular use of behaviors like self-induced vomiting or laxative use to compensate for binge eating. The non-purging subtype involves using other inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as excessive exercise or fasting, instead of purging.

Which of the subsequent is a symptom of bulimia?

You haven’t provided the options, but a common symptom of bulimia is recurrent episodes of binge eating, where an individual consumes a large amount of food in a discrete period, accompanied by a sense of lack of control. Additionally, purging behaviors like vomiting, laxative use, or excessive exercise are characteristic of bulimia nervosa.

If you want to read more articles similar to Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder Difference, we recommend that you enter our  Mental Disorders category.

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