Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge Eating Disorder was recently recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as its own category of eating disorder. According to the DSM-5, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is characterized by:

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

    • eating, in a discrete period of time (for example, within a 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

    • 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)

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

    • eating much more rapidly than normal

    • eating until feeling uncomfortably full

    • eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

    • eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating

    • feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterwards

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

  • 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.

Being overweight or obese does NOT mean you have BED.

Symptoms explained:

  • Binge episodes occur regularly (at least once a week for three months)

  • Binge eater finds episodes very upsetting

  • Binge eater prefers to eat in private

  • Binge eating is not responsive to normal physiological cues (ie: hunger, satiety)


Warning Signs

  • Eating large quantities of food, without purging behaviors, when not hungry

  • Sense of lack of control over eating – experience what once you have started to eat, you can't stop

  • Eating until uncomfortably/painfully full

  • Eating rapidly

  • Experience of "zoning out" when overeating

  • Weight gain/fluctuations

  • Feelings of shame, guilt, and remorse

  • Self-medicating with food

  • Eating alone/secretive eating

  • Lying about amount of food consumed

  • Hiding or stashing food food

  • High levels of anxiety and/or depression

  • Low self-esteem

Health Complications

  • High blood pressure

  • High chelesterol levels

  • Heart disease

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Musculoskeletal problems

  • Insomnia

  • Menstrual problems

  • Joint and/or muscle pain

  • Headaches