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Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder Facts

  • The American Psychiatric Association officially recognized binge eating disorder as a diagnosis in 2013.
  • Binge eating disorder includes eating binges but has no behavior component to compensate for the eating (for example, purging behavior or excessive exercise).
  • Binge eating disorder is thought to be the most common eating disorder, ahead of both anorexia and bulimia.
  • Not all people with binge eating disorder are overweight, but most who seek treatment for binge eating disorder are overweight or obese.
  • People with binge eating disorder commonly have other psychiatric conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety.
  • There is no specific test or procedure to diagnose binge eating disorder. DSM-5 criteria has been used as a diagnostic tool.
  • Binge eating disorder is likely caused by a combination of genetic, biological, and psychological factors.
  • Treatment for binge eating disorder may include medications, psychotherapy, or both.
  • Although binge eating disorder can last for years, for the majority of people, treatment can reduce the symptoms and complications of binge eating disorder.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder is characterized by binge eating without subsequent episodes of purging, using laxatives or excessive/driven exercise. Although binge eating disorders have been described since the 1950s, binge eating disorder has only been officially recognized as a formal diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association since 2013, with the publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Before the DSM-5 inclusion, binge eating disorder was considered an "unspecified eating disorder." Binge eating disorder is different from other eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, orthorexia (obsessively eating "healthy foods"), or restrictive eating disorder (restricting eating of certain foods).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/21/2017
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Binge Eating Disorder - Treatment

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Binge Eating Disorder - Symptoms and Signs

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Binge eating disorder symptoms include an individual feeling they can't control what or how much they're eating.

Binge Eating Disorder Symptoms

People with binge eating disorder feel a compulsion to binge at least once a week over a course of at least three months. Individuals with binge eating disorder feel that they have no control over what or how much they eat. Binges often happen when the person is alone, oftentimes when the person isn't even hungry.

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