Binge Eating

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Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting about three percent of adults. It affects more women than men (three women for every two men), typically between the ages of 46 to 55.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from binge eating disorder, it’s important to get diagnosed so that proper treatment can help to prevent numerous complications including stress, trouble sleeping, joint pain, digestive problems and even suicidal thoughts.

Classification in the DSM

Since 1994, binge eating disorder was classified as an “Eating Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified),” or EDNOS, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a publication of the American Psychiatric Association. In the next version of the DSM, the DSM-5 to be published in May 2013, binge eating will be classified as its own, separate eating disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating

According to the Weight-Control Information Network (WIN), people with binge eating disorder typically:

  • • Eat very quickly and until uncomfortably full
  • • Eat large quantities of food despite not being hungry
  • • Eat alone because they are embarrassed about the amount of food they intake
  • • Feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after a “binge” episode

People with another eating disorder called bulimia nervosa also binge eat. However, in the case of bulimia, people vomit, fast, exercise or use laxatives following a binge episode in order to compensate or get ‘rid’ of the extra food so that they don’t gain weight. These characteristics are not seen in binge eating disorder, and as a result many binge eaters are overweight.


It’s important to receive a proper diagnosis of binge eating disorder so that an effective treatment plan can be devised with a healthcare professional. Treatment for binge eating disorder can include a combination of medication and behavior therapy such as cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal psychotherapy.

Source: Weight-Control Information Network


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