Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

Binge Eating Disorder Symptoms

Binge Eating Disorder (BED), was finally officially-named as a diagnosis separate from Bulimia in the DSM-5; the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published in May of 2013.

Binge Eating Disorder 

A. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:

1. eating, in a discrete period of time (for example, within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances

2. a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (for example, a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)

B. The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:

1. eating much more rapidly than normal

2. eating until feeling uncomfortably full

3. eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

4. eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating

5. feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterwards

C. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.

D. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months.

E. The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (for example, purging) and does not occur exclusively during the course Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

With Binge Eating Disorder there is no regular use of inappropriate behaviors to try to prevent weight gain or to compensate for the amount of food eaten. (No behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, excessive exercise or fasting.)

Other symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder…often there is clinical depression present. Mental health professionals often see impulse control and obsessive-compulsive problems as well.

Medical complications associated with binge eating may be digestion and/or obesity related. Those may include problems with high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing, the gallbladder, the pancreas, the heart, circulation, skin ruptures and joints.

What Percentage of People Who are Treated for “Obesity” Actually Have a Binge Eating Disorder?

Further study is needed, but it’s estimated that at least 25% of those who seek treatment for obesity have significant problems with recurrent binge eating and may have a Binge Eating Disorder. It appears to be an equal opportunity disorder, affecting men and women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. One study suggests that for every five women who have a binge eating disorder there is one man who is suffering as well. With anorexia and bulimia the ratio is about 8 or 9 women to every one man. (Some say that those numbers are a bit skewed by the fact that women are more likely to acknowledge a problem such as this and to seek help.)

How Do You Define “Binge Eating”?

Several questions still remain to be answered about the origins, causes, genetics, environmental, social influences that contribute to the development of  Binge Eating Disorder.

Does it qualify as “binge eating” only if someone eats a large amount of food in a two hour period of time…or would a person qualify for a binge eating disorder if they regularly ate small amounts of food all day long (we call that grazing)? What if a person turns to food every single time they have an emotional need?

In my A Weigh Out Coaching practice (and previously in my Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment program), we’ve seen a great variety of binge eating patterns, signs, and symptoms. Through my role in BEDA; the Binge Eating Disorder Association, I worked with the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 BED committee to gather any studies on BED that would help determine the need for BED to have it’s own diagnostic heading and criteria. I’m thrilled that BED has been recognized for the serious disorder that it is.

Ready for Binge Eating Disorder help? Learn more about Telephone Coaching for emotional and binge eating, worldwide.

Learn More About Binge Eating Disorder treatment in Ending The Cycle of Binge Eating.