Eating Disorders

What is Binge-Eating Disorder (BED)?

Binge-Eating Disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food in a relatively short period of time (binge-eating) and feelings of lack of control around binge-eating episodes. Binge eating often involves rapid consumption of food to the point of considerable discomfort and feelings of shame and guilt afterwards. BED shares similarity to the Bulimia Nervosa in that they both involve recurrent binge-eating episodes however individuals with BED do not regularly engage in compensatory behaviors following binges (such as purging).

BED can cause considerable psychological and physical distress and should always be taken seriously. Dissociation while binging, no memory of what was eaten and “black outs” can be present in some people. BED is the most common type of eating disorder in the United States.

BED is diagnosed by these specific criteria:

  1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating (see binge-eating description under bulimia nervosa). The binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
    a. Eating much more rapidly than normal
    b. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    c. Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
    d. Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
    e. Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty after overeating
  2. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
  3. The binge eating occurs on average at least once a week for 3 months.
  4. The binge eating in not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

(Adapted from the DSM-5)