7 Signs You're A 'Binge Thinker' (And It's Making You Anxious)

it's a funny name for a serious problem.

woman thinking Rido via Canva

As a person with anxiety, I know that everyone gets anxious from time to time. But there's normal everyday anxiety, and then there are anxiety disorders.

Binge thinking is a term I read about first in an article, and it instantly clicked for me. The article describes binge thinking as "a form of emotional oversensitivity that often spirals uncontrollably into nervous anxiety or a sense of anger at the world, and leaves you feeling defeated."


"Binge thinking" refers to an excessive and uncontrollable pattern of overthinking or engaging in repetitive and persistent thoughts. It is similar to the concept of binge eating, where individuals consume large quantities of food in a short period.

In the case of binge thinking, this thought process involves getting caught up in a cycle of repetitive thoughts, often negative or worrisome in nature, that are difficult to control or stop. Binge thinking looks a lot like anxiety, and if you suffer from it and don't deal with it, it could lead to a full-blown anxiety disorder.

RELATED: 4 Things Your Obsessive Overthinking Reveals About Your Personality


If you're worried you might be a binge thinker, check out these 7 signs of binge thinking to know for sure.

1. You spiral with just one negative thought.

You're on vacation with your family having an amazing time. It's supposed to be relaxing and fun. But right when you close your eyes on the beach you remember that awful lecture your boss gave you last week.

Once a negative thought like that crosses your mind, it's all over. Your mind leap-frogs from one negative thought to another until relaxation and happiness are impossible to achieve.

2. You're a total perfectionist.

Your life can be wonderful and rewarding. Something your life can never be? Perfect. Free of flaw. It's just impossible.

This is unacceptable for the binge thinker. They are perfectionists. A great meeting is considered a failure because you stammered over one word. A new dress ruins a night out when it creases in a funny place when you sit down.


You spend your life cataloging all the small things you need to change to make your life something it can never be: absolutely perfect.

RELATED: 4 Things Your Obsessive Overthinking Reveals About Your Personality

3. You focus on the worst-case scenario.

If you feel sluggish at work, this translates into you assuming that your slump in energy has not only been noticed, but will cause you to be fired, and once you're fired your boyfriend will leave you because he doesn't find unemployed people attractive, and you will get kicked out of your apartment and... Stop.

Binge thinkers always think in terms of the worst-case scenario. You spend so much time bracing yourself for the impact that never comes that you lose out on life's small enjoyments.


4. You constantly compare yourself to others.

A binge thinker can't stay in their own lane, so to speak. A binge thinker sees a woman in a well-tailored skirt and assumes that she's wealthier, prettier, and smarter than they could ever be.

Rather than focusing on doing your own best, you are obsessed with doing better than everyone else. It's a recipe for alienation and unhappiness.

5. It's challenging for you to 'let go' of things.

It takes time to get over a loss and don't you ever let anyone tell you otherwise. But if your grief for a departed friend or for a partner who left you has you so entrenched in negative thoughts that you develop symptoms like headaches or major fatigue, it's a sign that you might be a binge thinker.

Letting go, to you, means admitting failure, which means admitting you aren't perfect, and that's heartbreakingly hard for you to do.


RELATED: 20 Signs You're An Extremely Toxic Person & Are Difficult To Be Around

6. You believe overthinking actually protects you.

Overthinking can serve as a form of self-protection by allowing you to anticipate potential problems or risks, enabling you to take proactive measures to prevent them. By thoroughly analyzing different scenarios and outcomes, you gain a sense of control and preparedness, which can mitigate potential harm or negative consequences.

Overthinking provides a sense of security by helping you identify and address potential pitfalls or errors in your decisions or actions. Therefore, if nothing can surprise you, then nothing can hurt you.

7. You put meaning into everything.

That is, every single word spoken to you or that you say. Ascribing meaning to everything can be a sign of being a binge thinker because it suggests a tendency to overanalyze and overthink situations, events, or even everyday occurrences.


Binge thinkers often have a heightened sensitivity to details and a deep desire to understand the underlying significance behind everything they encounter.

Binge thinkers tend to overinterpret events, searching for hidden messages or patterns that may not actually exist. They may assign exaggerated importance or overemphasize the significance of certain experiences or interactions, which can lead to unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Does this all sound like you? Don't worry — not only are you not alone, but there's hope!


Stress is a major trigger for binge thinkers. If you are looking for a way to stop the obsessive cycle of negative thoughts that is clouding up your life and keeping you from being truly happy, start by identifying your stress triggers.

Prioritize your sleep and exercise to keep you feeling well-rested and energized. The hardest part of giving up binge thinking is not beating yourself up if you don't succeed immediately.

You're going to fail. That's what humans do. So when it happens, take a minute to acknowledge it, and then give yourself the permission to start all over again, brand new.

RELATED: 12 Struggles Only People With Anxiety Will Understand


Rebecca Jane Stokes is a freelance writer, editor, former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek, and former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango. She has a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime topics. Her bylines have appeared on Fatherly, Bustle, SheKnows, Jezebel, and many others.