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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

When is it a Binge Eating Disorder?

Emotional eating and binge eating happen on a continuum. Some people do it a little. Some people are consumed by food thoughts and feelings of being out of control with food. Where on the continuum does it become a diagnosable eating disorder?

You may be surprised to find that Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is common. More people have Binge Eating Disorder than Anorexia and Bulimia combined. According to a 2007 Harvard University and McLean Hospital Study, 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men suffer from the disorder at some point in their lives.

Here’s the very latest diagnostic criteria for Binge Eating Disorder. Binge Eating Disorder will appear in the 2013 edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for Binge Eating Disorder; DSM-5

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 of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.


If you think you have a binge eating disorder, please consider seeking help. You deserve it!


Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in emotional and binge eating issues. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com

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