Text Link

Learn more about the results we get at Within

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Learn more about the results we get at Within

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

OCD and binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by eating a large amount of food in a short period of time, often while feeling a loss of control.1 Those living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may have similar feelings of losing control, as people with OCD experience recurrent and intrusive thoughts and behaviors. Both BED and OCD can cause people significant distress, especially when left untreated.

With such similarities in the characteristics, it’s perhaps no surprise that OCD and binge eating disorder commonly co-occur.2 Research suggests that eating disorders and OCD may be a part of a family of disorders that are related to impulse control, possibly due to dysregulation in the parts of the brain concerned with decision-making and reward.

Those struggling with impulse control may have a problem controlling unwanted or disordered behaviors, accompanied by a compulsion to repeat these behaviors. Compulsive behaviors and a lack of control are key symptoms of both OCD and binge eating disorder.3

 minutes read
Last updated on 
October 6, 2023
OCD and binge eating disorder
In this article

What the research says about OCD and binge eating 

Research indicates that it is common for people to be diagnosed with both an eating disorder and OCD at the same time. Among patients diagnosed with an eating disorder, an estimated 15% also had a concurrent OCD diagnosis.4 Additionally, among patients diagnosed with OCD, an estimated 7.2% are also diagnosed with BED.5

About 15% of those with an eating disorder also have OCD. Learn about our remote treatment program that helps you to recover from an eating disorder from home.

Learn more

A 2019 study found that women diagnosed with OCD may be more likely to engage in disordered eating behaviors, increasing their risk of developing an eating disorder. (6)

Furthermore, a 2013 study found that 73.8% of patients with BED had at least one additional lifetime psychiatric disorder, and 43.1% had at least one current psychiatric disorder. Mood and anxiety disorders were the most common coexisting disorders, but the study found that 2.2% of those with OCD had co-occurring BED.7 This study also revealed that BED patients with a comorbid psychiatric disorder also had significantly higher levels of current eating disorder psychopathology, as well as lower self-esteem, compared with BED patients with no history of psychiatric disorders (concurrent or lifetime).7

How to treat OCD and binge eating disorder

The psychological links between OCD and binge eating disorder can allow treatment to be tailored for both disorders.8 The most common treatment modalities, which may be adapted for both disorders, are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).9,10,11

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

It is important for people who may have or may be treating OCD symptoms and binge eating disorder to recognize when both disorders co-occur. Treating both disorders may improve the likelihood of recovery, by disrupting the connections between the disorders.12

Remote treatment is available

If you or someone you know is struggling with BED and OCD, help is available. Within Health offers individualized eating disorder treatment plans delivered with compassion by an experienced multidisciplinary team.

Call (866) 293-0041

Disclaimer about "overeating": Within Health hesitatingly uses the word "overeating" because it is the term currently associated with this condition in society, however, we believe it inherently overlooks the various psychological aspects of this condition which are often interconnected with internalized diet culture, and a restrictive mindset about food. For the remainder of this piece, we will therefore be putting "overeating" in quotations to recognize that the diagnosis itself pathologizes behavior that is potentially hardwired and adaptive to a restrictive mindset.

Disclaimer about weight loss drugs: Within does not endorse the use of any weight loss drug or behavior and seeks to provide education on the insidious nature of diet culture. We understand the complex nature of disordered eating and eating disorders and strongly encourage anyone engaging in these behaviors to reach out for help as soon as possible. No statement should be taken as healthcare advice. All healthcare decisions should be made with your individual healthcare provider.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.).
  2. Pollack, L. O., & Forbush, K. T. (2013). Why do eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder co-occur? Eating Behaviors, 14(2), 211–215.
  3. Robbins, T. W., Vaghi, M. M., & Banca, P. (2019). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Puzzles and Prospects. Neuron, 102(1), 27–47.
  4. Mandelli, L., Draghetti, S., Albert, U., De Ronchi, D., & Atti, A. R. (2020). Rates of comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder in eating disorders: A meta-analysis of the literature. Journal of Affective Disorders, 277, 927–939.
  5. Sallet, P. C., de Alvarenga, P. G., Ferrão, Y., de Mathis, M. A., Torres, A. R., Marques, A., Hounie, A. G., Fossaluza, V., do Rosario, M. C., Fontenelle, L. F., Petribu, K., & Fleitlich-Bilyk, B. (2009). Eating disorders in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: Prevalence and clinical correlates. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 43(4), 315-325.
  6. Bang, L., Kristensen, U. B., Wisting, L., Stedal, K., Garte, M., Minde, Å., & Rø, Ø. (2020). Presence of eating disorder symptoms in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. BMC Psychiatry, 20(1).
  7. Grilo, C. M., White, M. A., & Masheb, R. M. (2009). DSM-IV psychiatric disorder comorbidity and its correlates in binge eating disorder. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 42(3), 228–234.
  8. Simpson, H. B., Wetterneck, C. T., Cahill, S. P., Steinglass, J. E., Franklin, M. E., Leonard, R. C., Weltzin, T. E., & Riemann, B. C. (2013). Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder complicated by comorbid eating disorders. Cognitive behaviour therapy, 42(1), 64–76.
  9. Iacovino, J. M., Gredysa, D. M., Altman, M., & Wilfley, D. E. (2012). Psychological treatments for binge eating disorder. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(4), 432–446.
  10. Castle, D., Feusner, J., Laposa, J. M., Richter, P. M. A., Hossain, R., Lusicic, A., & Drummond, L. M. (2023). Psychotherapies and digital interventions for OCD in adults: What do we know, what do we need still to explore? Comprehensive Psychiatry, 120, 152357.
  11. Manjula, M., & Sudhir, P. (2019). New-wave behavioral therapies in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Moving toward integrated behavioral therapies. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 61(7), 104.
  12. Vanzhula, I. A., Kinkel-Ram, S. S., & Levinson, C. A. (2021). Perfectionism and Difficulty Controlling Thoughts Bridge Eating Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms: A Network Analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 283, 302–309.
  13. Kaye WH, Bulik CM, Thornton L, Barbarich N, Masters K. (2004). Comorbidity of anxiety disorders with anorexia and bulimia nervosa. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 161(12), 2215-21.


What causes binge-eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is most likely caused by a complex combination of environmental, biological, and psychological factors. 

Can OCD cause eating disorders?

While OCD and eating disorders often co-occur, research has not indicated one is caused by the other.

Are eating disorders a form of OCD?

Eating disorders are unlikely to be a form of OCD. However, it’s not uncommon for eating disorders and anxiety disorders, such as OCD, to co-occur.13

Further reading

Dual diagnosis eating disorder treatment

While most forms of therapy were originally designed to treat a specific type of mental health disorder, some

What is hyperphagia?

People with hyperphagia have an elevated, uncontrollable, and prolonged appetite for food, which usually...

Phentermine for weight loss (Adipex-P, Lomaira)

Phentermine is the generic name for the prescription drug sold under the brand names Adipex-P and Lomaira...

Binge eating self-help

Self-help is the process of improving oneself or overcoming one’s problems without help from others...

OCD and binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by eating a large amount of food in a short period of time...

What to do if you feel like binge eating

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States, with an estimated 2.8...

The link between medical trauma and eating disorders

When people think of traumatic events, they likely think of a one-time terrifying or disturbing event, such...

How to stop stress eating

Life can get stressful, and everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress. Unfortunately, many people...

PTSD and eating disorders

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders commonly co-occur, which can complicate recovery...

Complex trauma and eating disorders

You may be familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is an anxiety disorder that results...

Eating disorders and neurodivergence

Once thought of primarily as social diseases, eating disorders are now much better understood, with...

The relationship between bulimia and anxiety

Co-occurring mental health conditions are common among individuals who live with...

Borderline personality disorder and anorexia nervosa

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and eating disorders, such as anorexia...

Bulimia and alcohol addiction

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder associated with multiple negative...

What is stress-induced anorexia?

People with anorexia nervosa (AN) often experience high anxiety and stress levels...

What is binge eating, and how does it affect the body?

Binge eating is when a person eats a large amount of food quickly in one sitting...

How to stop anxiety eating

If you turn to food when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you’re not...

Unpacking anorexia and insomnia

The connection between anorexia nervosa (AN) and insomnia is complex. Researchers haven’t identified...

Understanding depression and eating disorders

When someone enters treatment for an eating disorder, it is important they receive...

Treating ARFID and autism

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder that involves extreme picky eating...

The relationship between anxiety, depression, and overeating

Food is one of the most essential aspects of life, not only needed for survival, but involved deeply in...

The relationship between anorexia nervosa and anxiety disorders

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder in which individuals are concerned about...

The relationship between ADHD and binge eating disorder

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder (BED)...

Sleep and eating disorders

Sleeping and eating share a very intimate relationship, as they are both essential...

How does OCD and eating disorders interact

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders are two distinctive conditions...

Food maintenance syndrome (foster care)

Food maintenance syndrome is an eating disorder common in children in foster care...

Food aversion and OCD

When we think of eating disorders, we often imagine someone who has anorexia nervosa...

Eating disorders and co-occurring disorders

On their own, eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. But they are often accompanied by co-occurring...

Eating disorders and addiction

Eating disorders like binge eating disorder, atypical anorexia nervosa, and bulimia...

What is body dysmorphic disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a serious condition that involves a preoccupation with physical appearance.

Anxiety and binge eating

Our emotions are closely tied to eating, meals, and food choices. We all use...

Postpartum depression and binge eating disorder

Postpartum depression is a common mental health condition that affects...

Further reading

No items found.